Mr Colin Williams
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1) Did not take the appropriate steps in respect of Patient A when cardiac arrest had been recognised, namely:
a) You did not ensure that chest compressions were performed optimally in accordance with guidance in that;
i) There was undue delay in commencing chest compressions; and/or;
ii) There were undue interruptions in chest compressions.
b) You did not ensure that early defibrillation was not performed in accordance with the guidance in that;
i) There was undue delay in commencing defibrillation; and/or
ii) Not proved.
2) The matters set out on paragraphs 1a) – b) constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence
3) By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.
1.The Panel found that there had been good service of the proceedings, by notice dated 20 December 2016 sent to the registered address of Mr Williams (the Registrant) in accordance with Rule 3 of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) 2003.
Proceeding in Absence
2. Mr Williams was neither present nor represented. Conscious of its duty to deal with this matter expeditiously, the Panel considered that it was appropriate and in the interests of justice to proceed in his absence. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had waived his rights to attend the hearing. In coming to this conclusion, the Panel had in mind the HCPC Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and the provisions of Rule 11 of the rules. The Panel, in particular, noted that the last communication to the HCPC from the Registrant was in an email of 5 January 2015 in which he wrote, amongst other things, that he “cannot engage with you any further in this matter.”
3. At the time of the incident, the Registrant was employed as a Paramedic by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (“The Trust”). Until the 8th August 2012, the Registrant had had a long and unblemished career. On that date, he and a colleague were called to a Red 2 emergency call at a domestic property to treat Patient A, a 79 year old male who was suffering from breathing difficulties and vomiting. Following a patient assessment, Patient A was assisted onto a carry chair in his living room, whereupon he went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. An ambulance arrived and transported Patient A to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
4. The family of Patient A made a formal complaint to the Trust in September 2013, as a result of which the Trust commenced an investigation. Prior to this, though, the Registrant formally retired. The Registrant self - referred the matter to the HCPC in March 2014.
5. At the final hearing in February 2016, the panel heard from Person B, a member of Patient A’s family and a witness to what happened at the family home. He gave evidence, which the panel found to be credible, that the family were concerned by the actions of the Registrant and that, despite allegations to the contrary by the Registrant, the family were neither threatening nor hostile to the Registrant at this time.
6. Both parties accepted that chest compressions were not commenced until Patient A was in the back of the ambulance. To the mind of the panel, that constituted undue delay.
7. Furthermore, the panel found that defibrillation was not commenced until patient A had been taken out to the ambulance, despite the fact that the defibrillator had been in the living room of Patient A on the arrival of the paramedics.
Decision and Order:
8. This is the first substantive review of the order of suspension for 12 months imposed by the previous panel which came into effect on 2 March 2016.
9. Ms Clarke submitted, that, in all the circumstances, the appropriate and proportionate step now to take would be for the Panel to impose a striking off order.
10. Today the Panel has taken account of the contents of the hearing bundle and the submissions from Ms Clarke. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel takes the view that the fitness to practise of the Registrant remains impaired.
11. It is possible that, because of the Registrant’s change of address, he never received the determination of the final hearing. In reaching this conclusion, the Panel took particular note of the contents of the Registrant’s email to the HCPC dated 5 January 2015. In this he states that “I cannot provide you with an address where I can guarantee safe delivery of any correspondence as I am no longer resident in the UK.” Nevertheless, the Panel was mindful of the fact that it is always the Registrant’s responsibility to keep in touch with his regulatory body.
12. In this email, the Registrant also wrote that he had taken early retirement and that he had “no desire or wish to practice (sic), as a Paramedic, either now nor (sic) at any time in the future.” He added these words “I cannot engage with you any further in this matter and leave you to conclude your file according to your procedures for these circumstances.”
13. It is plain from these statements and the fact that there has been no further communication at all from the Registrant since that date, that his desire is to sever all connection with his regulatory body.
14.Throughout, the Registrant has shown no remorse for his actions, has demonstrated little or no insight and has made no attempt to remediate his failings.
15. The Panel took account of the principle of proportionality in reaching its conclusion and paid due regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy (particularly paragraph 41).
16. It is plain to the Panel that, in view of all the factors in this case, any sanction other than that of a striking off order would be inappropriate. To decide otherwise would be to place patients at risk of harm and would amount to a failure by the Panel to maintain standards in the profession and uphold the principles of trust and confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.
That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Colin Williams from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.
The order imposed today will apply from 3 March 2017 on the expiry of the existing 12 month Suspension Order.
History of Hearings for Mr Colin Williams
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|03/02/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|
|01/02/2016||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Suspended|