Mr David Enstone
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1. The Panel was taken through the relevant documentation and found that service had been properly effected. The Panel then considered whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. There has been no application for an adjournment or postponement and the correspondence from the Registrant in effect, suggests that he is content for the matter to proceed in his absence.
2. Ms Shenton submitted that the Panel should proceed on the basis that this was a mandatory review and that there was no reason to presume that an adjournment would secure the attendance of the Registrant.
3. The Panel accepted advice from the Legal Assessor and considered the relevant Practice Note. It decided that the case should proceed in the absence of the Registrant or any representative. It considered the relevant criteria as outlined in the case of R v Jones, as confirmed by the case of Adeogba, particularly its discretion to commence and conduct proceedings in absence of the Registrant.
4. In exercising that discretion, the Panel has carefully balanced the fairness to the Registrant with the protection of potential patients and the wider public interest. It has had regard to all the circumstances of the case and in particular the following factors:
- the Registrant knew of the hearing today as evidenced by his correspondence;
- that in correspondence from the Registrant, no application was made for an adjournment;
- that there was no indication that the Registrant was likely to attend were the hearing today to be adjourned;
- the extent of any disadvantage to the Registrant if he is not present or represented today, given the information currently before the Panel.
5. The Panel was satisfied that it was fair for the hearing to proceed today on the basis of the material before it, given that this is a mandatory review, and it is important that it is heard expeditiously. The Registrant has voluntarily absented himself and an adjournment is very unlikely to guarantee his attendance.
6. The Registrant qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2009 following a career in the police. He was employed by the Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust (the Trust) as a Band 2 Bank Therapy Assistant in July 2011 and was made a Band 5 Physiotherapist in October 2012.
7. His employment was terminated by the Trust on 29 November 2013.
8. Ms Shenton on behalf of the HCPC, submitted that the previous Panel found the Registrant to be suffering from a health condition, having heard evidence from an independent medical professional.
9. Ms Shenton invited the Panel to consider the previous Panel’s findings and to make a clear direction if it considered that a future Panel would be assisted by having an updated medical assessment. Ms Shenton submitted that there was no indication from the Registrant that he had developed insight, or had engaged with any medical professionals for treatment. She said that his lack of insight into his health condition is evidenced by his email of 26 August 2016 to HCPC in which he denies he has a health condition.
10. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It considered the material before it giving weight to the Registrant’s witness statement and taking the time to read all the papers carefully. The Panel is mindful that it cannot go behind the facts of the previous Panel. This Panel was of the view that there is nothing before it to show that the Registrant’s health condition has changed. The views he expresses in his witness statement appear to be as unshakeable and fixed as they were before, demonstrating a continuation of his impairment.
11. The Panel, having found the Registrant’s fitness to practice is still impaired by reason of his health, considered that there was no sanction other than a Suspension Order that would sufficiently protect the public. The period of Suspension would be for 12 months, so as to enable the Registrant the maximum amount of time for any recovery.
12. The Panel directs that the HCPC produce an updated Medical Report to be provided by a new independent medical professional so that an assessment of the Registrant’s current health is available for a future Panel. It further directs, that the author of that report attend any review hearing to give oral evidence. These directions takes into account the Registrant’s own request for an updated assessment.
13. A future Panel may also be assisted by evidence that the Registrant has engaged with appropriate medical professionals and is following any professional advice he receives in relation to his health condition.
The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr David Enstone for a further period of 12 months on the expiry of the existing order.
The order imposed today will apply from 28 October 2016.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 28 October 2017.