Jonathan Henderson

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA35485

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 02/09/2016 End: 16:00 02/09/2016

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Paramedic by Yorkshire Ambulance Service;

1. On the 19 June 2015, you attended incident number 5371874 at a wholesalers and you;

a. Stated 'How do I get a store card?' or words to that effect;

b. Temporarily left the scene of the incident, to sign up for a store card;

c. Did not inform your colleagues you were leaving the scene of the incident;

d Did not recognise the patients presentation had deteriorated;

2. The matters as set out in paragraph 1 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

3. By reason of this misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Proof of Service

1. The Panel was satisfied that notice had been served on 28 July 2016 in accordance with Rule 3 of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant

2. Mr Claughton, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the review hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules.  He referred the Panel to the fact that there had been no application for an adjournment by the Registrant who was aware of the proceedings.  The Registrant had confirmed in an e-mail dated 28 July 2016 that he would not be attending the hearing nor would he be represented. He reiterated this in a telephone conversation with the Case Manager today.

3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, that the decision to proceed in the absence of the Registrant is a decision to be taken with the utmost care and caution.  The Panel had regard to the relevant Practice Note, the criteria set out in R v Jones [2002] UKHL 5 and the guidance in General Medical Council v Adeogba/ Visvardis [2016] EWCA Civ 162.

4. The Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from the proceedings, he had not applied for an adjournment and there was nothing to indicate he was likely to attend if the matter were to be adjourned. He was clearly aware of the proceedings and had engaged in the regulatory process in agreeing to the proposed order before the Panel today. There were no remaining issues in dispute. In these circumstances, the Panel determined that it is in the interests of justice to proceed in the absence of the Registrant today. The Panel did not draw any adverse inference from the Registrant’s absence.

Background to the Proposed Consent Order

5. The Registrant was employed, at the relevant time, by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (the Trust) as a Paramedic based at Middlewood Station, Sheffield.  He had worked at the Trust for seventeen years and had been qualified as a Paramedic, at that stage, for approximately four years.

6. On 19 June 2015, the Registrant received a call to back up a Paramedic in a Rapid Response Vehicle at the Macro Store in Sheffield.  The Registrant was driving an ambulance and was accompanied by RF, Assistant Practitioner. The call originated at 20.28 hours and the Registrant arrived on the scene at 20.44 hours.

7. GS, Paramedic Practitioner, was present at the store prior to the Registrant and RF arriving. GS handed over relevant information to the Registrant when he arrived on the scene.

8. The patient whom they were attending, a female approximately 60 years old, reported a ‘near faint’ and stated that she had been experiencing intermittent headaches over the previous two weeks and had seen a General Practitioner (GP) who had diagnosed neck strain.  The patient also stated that she now felt her normal self and did not wish to be conveyed to hospital. The patient put on her coat and said she would go home and contact her GP if necessary. At this point it appeared to the Registrant that the incident was over.

9. The Registrant then said to a member of staff,”So can anyone have a Macro card then?” or words to that effect. In response, the member of staff confirmed that she could get the Registrant a Macro card.  The Registrant then allowed himself to be led away from the patient in order to process an application for a Macro card.

10. The Registrant did not inform his colleagues where he was going, what he was doing or how long he would be.

11. Whilst the Registrant was away the patient changed her mind and consented to being conveyed to hospital.

12.  At this time, RF and GS could not locate the Registrant who had the keys of the ambulance.  They had concerns that they would be unable to access the ambulance with the patient and had a discussion as to how to proceed. However, a check of the vehicle was made and they were able to access the rear of the ambulance which was still unlocked.

13. Accordingly, the patient was conveyed to the ambulance by RF and GS on a carry chair in the absence of the Registrant. Whilst in the ambulance the patient’s condition deteriorated.  She developed a left sided gaze, with left facial droop and lost usage to her right arm. There was a conversation between RF and GS as to the whereabouts of the Registrant as the cab door was still locked and they were unable to access the vehicle phone in order to contact the hospital. RF cannulated the patient and commenced observations.

14. The Registrant joined his colleagues and patient at this point and telephoned the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in order to refer the patient.  There was a delay in the hospital accepting the patient as her date of birth had not been obtained.  This delay may have been longer than five minutes.  Eventually the hospital accepted the referral and the patient was conveyed to hospital. GS obtained the patient’s date of birth from staff at Macro and relayed it via his radio to the Registrant whilst he and RF were en route to the hospital.

15. On 20 June 2015, GS raised some concerns with a Supervisor at Middlewood Station in relation to the Registrant’s conduct whilst at the store and expressed concerns that there may be a complaint by a member of staff at Macro as they had seemed concerned at the apparent delay in conveying the patient to hospital.

16. There was an internal investigation at the Trust in respect of this incident and the Registrant made a self-referral in respect of the matter to the HCPC on 6 August 2015.

17. Following concerns relating to an unrelated incident, the Registrant was suspended from his duties by the Trust on 25 September 2015. He resigned from his post in November 2015.  His employment formally ceased on 6 December 2015.

18. As a result of the Registrant’s resignation, the internal disciplinary process was not concluded.

19. On 25 April 2016 an Investigating Committee of the HCPC determined there was a case to answer, in respect of the allegation detailed above.

20. On or about 4 May 2016 there were discussions between the Registrant and the HCPC regarding a proposal that the case be disposed of by way of Voluntary Removal from the register.  It appeared to the HCPC that the Registrant wished to remove himself from the register. The Registrant declined this offer as he did not believe he had acted in a way which ‘warranted dismissal’.  He recognised that the effect of a Voluntary Removal would be similar to a Striking Off Order and felt that this was disproportionate to the circumstances. The Registrant indicated at this time that he would be happy to consider an alternative offer.

21. On 11 May 2016 the HCPC indicated that, on further consideration of this case, it considered that it may be appropriate to provide the Registrant with the option of consenting to a Caution Order being placed on his registration for three years.  The Registrant agreed to this course of action.

22. On 2 August 2016, in a conversation with a member of staff at the HCPC, the Registrant confirmed that he had no intention of continuing to practise as a Paramedic and was pursuing another line of work.

23. On 11 August 2016 the Registrant signed the proposed Consent Order. The case is therefore listed for the Panel to consider approval of a Consent Order, on the basis that the Registrant has demonstrated insight into the matters which led to the making of the allegation against him and has engaged in the fitness to practise process. It is proposed that a Caution Order for a period of 3 years is a proportionate measure that will provide the necessary protection to the public.

Submissions

24. For the HCPC, Mr Claughton outlined the background to the case as described above. He drew the Panel’s attention to the Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent and submitted that a Caution Order of 3 years duration would adequately protect the public. The HCPC considered that a Caution Order was a realistic likely outcome if the case had proceeded to a fitness to practise hearing. No more restrictive sanction was necessary in all the circumstances.

Decision

25. The Panel considered the public protection and public interest tests as set out in the HCPC Practice Note on the Disposal of Cases by Consent, it also carefully considered the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel considered the facts of the case, the submissions made and the Registrant’s mitigation. In particular the Panel noted the representations of the Registrant in an e-mail dated 1 May 2016 in which he accepted liability for the incident and expressed remorse and regret.  It also noted the contents of two references submitted by him.

26. In signing the Consent Order the Panel noted that the Registrant had accepted the allegation in full.  Furthermore, he had confirmed that he accepted responsibility in a telephone conversation with the Case Manager on the date of this hearing.

27. The Registrant had placed a service user at risk of harm by prioritising a personal matter above his professional responsibilities. The Panel was satisfied that, in the context of the Registrant leaving the patient without informing his colleagues as to his whereabouts and whilst he was in possession of the keys to the ambulance, that there was potential for a finding of impairment in this case on both public protection and public interest grounds.

28. Nevertheless, the Panel was satisfied that this was an isolated, relatively minor incident in an otherwise unblemished career.  There had been no repetition of the conduct and there was a low risk of recurrence.  The Registrant had shown full insight and understanding of the implications of his actions. Testimonials confirmed that this behaviour was out of character. The Registrant has been consistent throughout these proceedings in expressing his significant remorse. In all of these circumstances the Panel concluded that this was an appropriate case for a Caution Order.

29. The Panel was mindful of the need to balance the effect of the order upon the Registrant with the need to protect the public and uphold the wider public interest. The Panel was satisfied that a three year Caution Order was a proportionate sanction in all of the circumstances.  It would provide the public with the necessary degree of protection and the Panel was satisfied that public confidence in the profession and the regulator would not be undermined by proceeding in this way.

30. Accordingly, the Panel approves a Consent Order that imposes a Caution Order of three year’s duration.

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to annotate the register entry of Jonathan Henderson with a caution which is to remain on the register for a period of 3 years from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Jonathan Henderson

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
02/09/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Caution