Adrian Wyatt-Goody

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA03419

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 09/01/2017 End: 17:00 16/01/2017

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

Please note that the decision can take up to 5 working days to be uploaded onto the HCPTS website. Please contact one of our Hearings Team Managers via tsteam@hcpts-uk.org or +44 (0)808 164 3084 if you require any further information.

 

Allegation

Allegations (as amended):

 

While registered as a Paramedic and during the course of your employment as a manager with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust between 2011 and 2014, you:

 

1. In relation to Colleague A, on 28 October 2014:

 

a) Removed her from a third manning shift so that she remained on station without providing an operational reason for doing so;

 

b) Attempted to kiss her whilst in the Duty Locality office without her consent;

 

c) Made a further attempt to kiss her whilst in the General Manager’s Office, without her consent;

 

e) When challenged about your wife finding out about your actions you replied ‘but no one is going to tell her are they?’ or words to that effect.

 

2. In relation to Colleague B, during October 2014:

 

a) On one occasion, hugged her and kissed and/or nibbled her neck without her consent;

 

b) On a second occasion, hugged her and kissed and/or nibbled her neck without her consent.

 

3. In relation to Colleague C:

 

a) On one occasion, in or around October 2014, greeted her by kissing her neck and/or saying ‘hello beautiful’;

 

b) On or around 1 October 2014:

 

i. came up behind her and placed your hands on and/or around her waist;

 

ii. whilst driving in an ambulance said to her ‘show me your tits’ or words to that effect.

 

4. In relation to Colleague D, on a date unknown in:

 

a) 2013, told her ‘If you ever want an affair, just give me a shout' or words to that effect;

 

b) 2014, while comforting her when she was upset, you kissed her on the cheek and told her you loved her.

 

5. In relation to Colleague E:

 

a) on a date unknown, while she was bending down at work, you made a comment of ‘nice sight,’ or words to that effect;

 

b) on various occasions called her ‘Hot lips’ or words to that effect.

 

6. In relation to Colleague F:

 

a) Attempted to kiss her on a number of occasions without her consent;

 

b) On a number of occasions put your hands inside her bra;

 

c) Took photographs and/or had in your possession photographs of her;

 

d) On more than one occasion, tried to open her shirt and said on one occasion ‘let’s see how the girls are’ or words to that effect;

 

e) Tried to put your hands down her knickers.

 

7. The matters described in paragraphs 1 – 6 were sexually motivated.

 

8. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 – 7 constitute misconduct.

 

9. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters

Service

1.     The Panel has seen a copy of the Notice of Hearing dated 27 September 2016 which contains all relevant information, the proof of posting and a copy of the certificate of the Registrant’s registered address. The Panel determined that there was good service of the Notice of Hearing on the Registrant at his registered address in accordance with the provisions of Rule 6(1) of The Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003, as amended (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in absence

2.     The Panel heard a submission from Ms Mond Wedd on behalf of the HCPC to proceed in the absence of the Registrant under Rule 11 of the Rules. The Registrant was not present or represented, but the Registrant had stated in an email to the HCPC dated 27 September 2016 that “I plead guilty to all charges brought against me”. Further, Ms Mond Wedd referred the Panel to the Registrant’s signed proforma dated 25 November 2016 and returned to the HCPC in which the Registrant stated that he did not intend to attend the hearing or be represented and, again, that he admitted the facts alleged against him. Ms Mond Wedd submitted that there would be inconvenience to four witnesses who were scheduled to give oral evidence at this hearing should the hearing not proceed.

3.     The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice to consider all the circumstances and take account of the relevant Practice Note on “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” (September 2016).

4.     The Panel noted that the Registrant had not applied for an adjournment and there was a public interest in final hearings being dealt with at the appropriate time and expeditiously. There was no reason to think that if the hearing was adjourned, the Registrant would then attend or be represented.

5.     The Panel determined that the Registrant had voluntarily exercised his choice not to attend or be represented at the hearing today and was unlikely to attend on a future date if this hearing was adjourned. It was accordingly fair, proportionate and in the public interest to proceed with this final hearing in his absence.

Application to amend the Allegation

6.     Ms Mond Wedd applied for the Allegation to be amended in accordance with the changes notified to the Registrant by letter dated 6 April 2016 on the basis that the amendments more properly reflected the evidence that was to be presented on behalf of the HCPC.

 

7.     The Panel considered the application and noted that the Registrant has indicated his admission of the Allegation in its amended form in both his email and the proforma mentioned above. In addition, the Panel noticed slight typographical errors in paragraphs 4(a) and 6(d). The Panel was satisfied that there would be no injustice in allowing the proposed and the typographical amendments and therefore agreed to those amendments to the Allegation.

Background

8.     The Registrant was employed by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (“the Trust”) from 1989, and was a Duty Locality Officer (DLO) from August 2014 based at the Longwater Depot. The case of impairment of fitness to practise is alleged against the Registrant on the basis that over a prolonged period from 2011 to 2014, he had made inappropriate comments to and/or inappropriately touched six female colleagues (identified as A – F) in the workplace and that that conduct was sexually motivated.

 

Decision on Facts

9.      The Panel heard oral evidence from the following HCPC witnesses:

 

1)     VS, Information Manager and Technical Programme Manager at the Trust, who had conducted the Trust’s internal investigation into the same allegations for the Trust’s own disciplinary processes;

2)     Colleague A by video-link;

3)     Colleague B by video-link;

4)     Colleague F by video-link.

 

10.   The Panel received under Rule 10(1)(b) of the Conduct and Competence Committee (Procedure) Rules 2003, hearsay written evidence from the Trusts’ internal disciplinary process from:       

 

1)     SP, a paramedic based at the Trust’s Longwater Depot;

2) Colleague C;

3) Colleague D;

4) Colleague E.

 

11.   The Panel carefully considered all the oral and documentary evidence adduced by the HCPC. This included the Registrant’s own statements to the Trust’s investigation, and the notes of the Trust’s disciplinary hearing. No evidence was produced by or on behalf of the Registrant.

 

12.   The Panel recognised that the burden of proof rested at all times on the HCPC in respect of each alleged fact to prove that the alleged fact more probably occurred than not, and that there was no burden on the Registrant to prove that an alleged fact did not occur.

 

13.   In determining the weight to be attached to the hearsay statements, the Panel applied the test set out in s.4 of the Civil Evidence Act 1995. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that it should apply the test set out in Arunkalaivanan v General Medical Council [2014] EWHC 873 in determining whether the Registrant’s actions were sexually motivated.

 

14.   The Panel found the oral witnesses VS, Colleague A, Colleague B and Colleague F, to each be honest witnesses whose evidence was found by the Panel to be both credible and reliable. On the other hand, the Panel determined to give no weight to any of the four hearsay written statements set out in paragraph 10 above, given that there was no reasonable explanation of why none of them had been approached about giving oral evidence and no witness statements had been taken from them by the HCPC. In addition, the Panel noted that Colleagues C, D and E appear to have only raised their concerns after Colleague F had discussed her own concerns about the Registrant with them.

 

 

15.   ‘1. In relation to Colleague A, on 28 October 2014:

 

a)     Removed her from a third manning shift so that she remained on station without providing an operational reason for doing so;’

 

Proved

 

The Panel accepted Colleague A’s evidence that this occurred. The Registrant did not deny this in his signed Trust interview statement of 1 June 2015.

 

16.    ‘b) Attempted to kiss her whilst in the Duty Locality office without her consent;’

 

Proved

 

The Panel accepted Colleague A’s evidence that this occurred more than once on this day, and the Registrant admitted this in his signed Trust interview statement of 1 June 2015.

 

17.    ‘c) Made a further attempt to kiss her whilst in the General Manager’s Office, without her consent;’

 

Not proved

 

Colleague A gave oral evidence that the Registrant’s attempts to kiss her only took place in the Duty Locality office, not in the General Manager’s Office, which was located upstairs. The Panel was therefore not satisfied that a further attempt was made to kiss her in the upstairs General Manager’s Office, as alleged in this particular.

 

18.   ‘e) When challenged about your wife finding out about your actions you replied ‘but no one is going to tell her are they?’ or words to that effect.’

 

Proved.

 

The Panel accepted Colleague A’s evidence that this occurred.

 

19.   ‘2. In relation to Colleague B, during October 2014:

 

a)     On one occasion, hugged her and kissed and/or nibbled her neck without her consent;’

      

            Proved

 

The Panel accepted Colleague B’s evidence that this occurred. The Registrant accepted that this may well have happened in his signed Trust interview statement of 1 June 2015 and this was not disputed at the Trust Disciplinary hearing.

 

20.   ‘b) On a second occasion, hugged her and kissed and/or nibbled her neck without her consent.’

 

Proved.

 

For the same reasons as 2a) above.

 

21.   ‘3. In relation to Colleague C:

 

a) On one occasion, in or around October 2014, greeted her by kissing her neck and/or saying ‘hello beautiful’;’

 

Not proved.

 

Having given no weight to the hearsay statement of Colleague C, the Panel considered there was insufficient evidence to prove this allegation.

 

22.   ‘b) On or around 1 October 2014:

 

i. came up behind her and placed your hands on and/or around her waist;’

 

Not proved.

 

For the same reasons as 3a) above.

 

23.   ‘ii. whilst driving in an ambulance said to her ‘show me your tits’ or words to that effect.’

        

           Not proved.

 

                For the same reasons as 3a) above.

 

24.   ‘4. In relation to Colleague D, on a date unknown in:

 

a) 2013, told her ‘If you ever want an affair, just give me a shout' or words to that effect;’

 

Not proved.

 

Having given no weight to the hearsay statement of Colleague D, the Panel considered there was insufficient evidence to prove this allegation.

 

25.   ‘b) 2014, while comforting her when she was upset, you kissed her on the cheek and told her you loved her.’

 

Not proved.

 

For the same reasons as 4a) above.

 

26.   ‘5. In relation to Colleague E:

 

a) on a date unknown, while she was bending down at work, you made a comment of ‘nice sight,’ or words to that effect;’

 

Not proved.

 

Having given no weight to the hearsay statement of Colleague E, the Panel considered there was insufficient evidence to prove this allegation.

 

27.   ‘b) on various occasions called her ‘Hot lips’ or words to that effect.’

 

Not proved.

 

For the same reasons as 5a) above.

 

28.   ‘6. In relation to Colleague F:

 

a) Attempted to kiss her on a number of occasions without her consent;’

 

Proved.

 

The Panel accepted Colleague F’s evidence that this occurred and that it occurred without her consent. The Panel rejects the suggestion made by the Registrant in his signed Trust investigation statement of 1 June 2015 and at the Trust Disciplinary hearing that there was a “reciprocal relationship”.

 

29.    ‘b) On a number of occasions put your hands inside her bra;’

 

Proved

 

The Panel accepted Colleague F’s evidence that this occurred.

 

30.   ‘c)Took photographs and/or had in your possession photographs of her;’

 

Proved.

 

The Panel accepted Colleague F’s evidence that this occurred, and the Registrant admitted this allegation in his signed Trust interview statement of 1 June 2015.

 

31.   ‘ d) On more than one occasion, tried to open her shirt and said on one occasion ‘let’s see how the girls are’ or words to that effect;’

 

Proved.

 

The Panel accepted Colleague F’s evidence that this occurred.

 

32.   ‘e) Tried to put your hands down her knickers.’

 

Proved.

 

The Panel accepted Colleague F’s evidence that this occurred.

 

33.   ‘7. The matters described in paragraphs 1 – 6 were sexually motivated.’

 

          Proved in respect of paragraphs 1b), 2a), 2b) and 6a), 6b), 6c), 6d) and 6e).

 

Applying the test of whether each of these actions would objectively be considered sexually motivated, and in the absence of any other explanation from the Registrant, the Panel was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that it could properly infer sexual motivation on the part of the Registrant.

 

34.   Not proved in respect of paragraphs 1a) and 1e)

 

Applying the test of whether each of these actions would objectively be considered sexually motivated, the Panel determined that they would not meet that test.

 

35.   Not proved in respect of paragraphs 1c), 3a), 3b), 4a), 4b), 5a) and 5b).

 

Those paragraphs of the allegation were not proved as facts.

 

     Decision on Grounds

 

36.    Ms Mond Wedd submitted that the proven facts amounted to the ground of misconduct. She submitted that the Registrant’s conduct amounted to breaches of the applicable standards published by the HCPC, namely:

“Standards of Proficiency: Paramedics” Nov 2007, standards 1a.8 and 1b;

“Standards of Proficiency: Paramedics” Sept 2014, standards 9, 9.1 and 9.2;

“Standards of conduct, performance and ethics” July 2008, standards 3, 7 and 13.

 

37.   The Panel recognised that it was a matter for the Panel’s own professional judgement to determine whether any of the proven facts amounted to misconduct that was serious. Misconduct is not a defined term, but could be

-       conduct which brought the profession into disrepute;

-       conduct which breached a fundamental tenet of the profession;or

-       conduct which fellow professionals would regard as deplorable.

 

38.   The Panel determined that the proven facts in paragraph 7 in respect of paragraphs 1b), 2a), 2b) and 6a), 6b), 6c), 6d) and 6e) of the allegation, amounted to breaches of the required standards, namely:

“Standards of Proficiency: Paramedics” Nov 2007, standards 1a.8 and 1b.1;

“Standards of Proficiency: Paramedics” Sept 2014, standard 9.2;

“Standards of conduct, performance and ethics” July 2008, standards 3 and 13.

 

39.    These breaches of standards came about by the Registrant abusing his position of authority in the workplace for his personal sexual gratification and could only be regarded as serious breaches given the detrimental effects upon Colleagues A, B and F. They no longer felt safe in their working environment and were extremely distressed and upset by his conduct towards them. Such conduct brought the profession into disrepute, breached fundamental tenets of the profession, and would be regarded as deplorable by fellow professionals. The Panel concluded that this behaviour amounted to serious misconduct.

 

 Decision on Impairment

40.    Ms Mond Wedd submitted that the misconduct did give rise to the current impairment of the Registrant’s fitness to practise. She submitted that the Registrant’s admissions with regard to his misconduct at the Trust’s internal disciplinary hearing and to this Panel, did not demonstrate any insight into, or remediation of, his misconduct, so that the risk of repetition remained.

 

41.   The Panel made its own decision on impairment exercising its professional judgement on the proven facts of this case. The Panel had regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note “Finding impairment of Fitness to Practise” July 2013 and the HCPC’s Policy document “The meaning of fitness to practise” November 2015.

 

42.   The Panel considered that the Registrant had shown very little insight into the seriousness of his inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour. He had only admitted the alleged facts fully in his email of 27 September 2016 and the proforma hearing response dated 25 November 2016. He had produced no evidence of reflection on the gravity of his misconduct or of any attempt to remediate his behaviour. He had not participated in these proceedings, nor had he demonstrated an intention to remediate his conduct. In these circumstances, the Panel considered that there was a serious risk of repetition of the conduct found proved. Further, the Panel considered that public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made. The Panel therefore considered there was no alternative to a finding of current impairment by reason of the proven misconduct, on both the personal and public components of impairment referred to in the HCPC’s Practice Note.

Sanction

43.   Ms Mond Wedd submitted that sanction was a matter for the Panel to determine and the purpose was not to punish the Registrant, but to protect the public. She submitted that that the serious nature of the misconduct, the fact that the Registrant has not engaged in the regulatory process, and the fact that the Panel had determined that there was a real risk of repetition, were factors of concern in this case. Ms Mond Wedd also referred the Panel to the HCPC’s Policy document “Indicative Sanctions Policy” September 2015 (“the ISP”).

 

44.   The Panel considered those submissions and all the evidence and deliberated on the appropriate and proportionate restriction, if any, that should be imposed on the Registrant’s registration. During its deliberations, the Panel took into account the contents of the ISP.

 

45.   The Panel first considered whether it would be appropriate and sufficient to take no action, but considered that the misconduct, involving sexually motivated conduct against colleagues in the workplace, was far too serious. For the same reasons the Panel determined that a caution or conditions of practice would be wholly inadequate to protect the public and the wider public interest.

 

46.   The Panel then considered whether a suspension order would be appropriate and sufficient. The Panel took note of the following paragraph in the ISP:

 32. Suspension should be considered where the Panel considers that a                      caution or conditions of practice would provide insufficient public protection or where the allegation is of a serious nature but unlikely to be repeated and, thus, striking off is not merited.

47.   In this case, the Panel determined that the absence of sufficient insight, the lack of evidence of reflection and remediation to date, and the lack of evidence of an intention to attempt remediation, led to a real risk of repetition of the previous misconduct which had been sustained for many years and against several colleagues. Such repetition would pose the risk of affecting working relationships with female colleagues, and thereby risk the efficient and proper operation of any workplace at which the Registrant were to work as a Paramedic. Not only could this present a risk to public safety, but also such repetition would undermine the public’s confidence in the profession. There was a need in this case to deter this sort of behaviour in the profession and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct. In this way, the public’s confidence in the profession and the regulatory process could be protected.

 

48.   The Panel also noted paragraphs 34, 40, 41 and 42 of the ISG which state:

 

34. If the evidence suggests that the registrant will be unable to resolve or remedy his or her failings then striking off may be the more appropriate option…

 

40. Striking off is a sanction of last resort for serious, deliberate or reckless acts involving abuse of trust such as sexual abuse…

 

41. Striking off should be used where there is no other way to protect the public, for example, where there is a lack of insight…. A registrant’s inability or unwillingness to resolve matters will suggest that a lower sanction may not be appropriate.

 

42. Striking off may also be appropriate where the nature and gravity of the allegation are such that any lesser sanction would lack deterrent effect or undermine confidence in the profession concerned or the regulatory process...”

 

49.   In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that the only sufficient and proportionate sanction to protect the public and the wider public interest was to make a striking-off order.

Order

ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Andrew Wyatt-Goody from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Adrian Wyatt-Goody

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
09/01/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off