Mr Richard Senior
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During the course of your employment as a Paramedic with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, between 11 July 2005 and 14 March 2013, you:
1. Behaved inappropriately towards Colleague A in that you:
a) said words to the effect of, “when am I going to be your sperm donor” on one or more occasion;
b) mentioned having a foursome with Colleague A and her ex-partner on one or more occasions;
c) said words to the effect of, “it’s not such a bad thing he’s after you, it might get you back on the fellers”, in relation to a patient who had expressed his attraction to Colleague A.
2. Behaved inappropriately towards Colleague B in that you:
a) said words to the effect of, “I don’t know how I never banged you when you were younger”;
b) made comments about visualising Colleague B breast feeding after she returned from maternity leave;
c) said words to the effect of, “just watching arse go by”, when Colleague B walked past.
3. Made inappropriate comments in front of patients regarding the number of women you have “had”.
4. Displayed an inappropriate photograph on your personal phone home screen which could be viewed by colleagues and patients.
5. Did not respond to emergencies appropriately on a number of occasions in that you:
a) Proceeded on emergency call outs without using blue lights and/or sirens;
b) Told colleagues not to use blue lights and/or sirens when responding to emergency call outs.
6. The matters set out in paragraph 5 constitute misconduct.
7. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been served with Notice of the hearing by letter dated 5 June 2017 in accordance with Rule 3 of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee)(Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”), and Article 31(15) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, as amended.
Proceeding in absence
2. Mr Claughton applied for the review hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11.
3. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note on “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was provided with an email dated 6 July 2017 from the Registrant to the HCPC in which he stated that, “due to the exigencies of his current profession and his current financial situation”, he would be unable to attend or be represented at today’s hearing.
4. On the basis of this email, the Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from the hearing today and waived his right to attend. This is a mandatory review and it should be heard in a timely manner. The Panel therefore determined that it was in the public interest to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
5. At the material time the Registrant was employed by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (the Trust) as a Band 5 Paramedic based at the Dewsbury Ambulance Station. The particulars numbered 1 to 3 above relate to inappropriate remarks of a sexually explicit nature made by the Registrant to work colleagues and, on one occasion, in front of service users. Particular 4 relates to a sexually explicit photograph stored on the Registrant’s personal phone, which was openly displayed to colleagues whilst the phone was being charged on the central shelf of the ambulance.
6. In addition, as alleged in particular 5, the Registrant did not respond to emergency calls appropriately, in that he did not use blue lights and sirens and told his colleagues to do likewise.
7. Each of the above particulars was found proved at the final hearing on 9 January 2015 and that panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his misconduct. That panel imposed a suspension order for a period of 12 months.
8. The first substantive review hearing took place on 21 December 2015. The Registrant did not attend that hearing but submitted written representations and a supportive reference from his current employer. That reviewing panel expressed disappointment at the Registrant’s failure to attend the hearing. They considered that the Registrant’s representations fell short of demonstrating sufficient evidence of insight as to the impact of his inappropriate remarks on others or that he had fully remediated his past misconduct. In the circumstances, they decided to impose a Conditions of Practice order for a period of 18 months from the expiry of the Suspension Order on 6 February 2016. The conditions imposed were:
1) You must promptly inform the HCPC if you take up any work, voluntary or paid, as a Paramedic.
2) You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor, registered with the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator, and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within two weeks of taking up such work. You must attend upon that supervisor when required and follow their advice and recommendations. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no requirement for direct clinical supervision.
3) You must allow your workplace supervisor to provide reports to the HCPC every three months. The reports must address specifically:
• your ability to communicate appropriately and professionally with colleagues and patients, taking into account equality and diversity;
• your ability to behave appropriately and professionally with colleagues and patients, taking into account equality and diversity;
• your compliance with your employer’s policies and guidelines with specific reference to: driving under emergency conditions and equality and diversity.
4) You must not work as a lone responder.
5) You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer.
6) You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:
a. any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work;
b. any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and
c. any prospective employer (at the time of your application).
7) You will be responsible for meeting any and all costs associated with complying with these conditions.
8) Any condition requiring you to provide information to the HCPC is to be met by you, sending information to the offices of the HCPC marked for the attention of the Director of Fitness to Practise.
9. In addition to the above conditions, the reviewing panel encouraged the Registrant to attend the next review hearing and to provide updated references and testimonials as to his professional conduct and any other evidence which might demonstrate that he has addressed his shortcomings.
10. The Panel had regard to all the documents contained in the hearing bundle prepared by the HCPC, including the decisions of the panels at the final hearing and the first review hearing.
11. In his email dated 6 July 2017 to the HCPC the Registrant stated as follows: “I do not wish to make any submission to the panel other than to reiterate to the panel the changes in attitude and approach I have adopted in the years since first appearing before the panel. I continue to conduct my day to day dealing with the public in a manner befitting that of a registrant, with one eye on treating others with respect, dignity and equality …. I have now had in excess of 2 ½ years to reflect upon my actions, which did not affect patients, but former colleagues in the Ambulance Service, and feel nothing but remorse and guilt regarding such actions which caused such distress. I continue with a desire to return to Paramedic duties, and have endeavoured to remain up to date with current practice, though feel this would be a hard road due to time spent away from duties.”
12. Mr Claughton submitted that, in the absence of any up to date information from the Registrant about his employment or personal circumstances, the Panel should conclude that his fitness to practise remains impaired.
13. The Panel took into account the representations by the Registrant and the submissions of Mr Claughton on behalf of the HCPC. The Panel had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
14. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired. The Panel regarded in a positive light the Registrant’s expressions of remorse for his past misconduct and his wish to return to practice as a Paramedic. However, the Panel was concerned at the Registrant’s apparent lack of insight in stating that his past misconduct had not affected patients, when it was apparent that the misconduct in particulars 3, 4 and 5 of the allegation all had the potential for negative impact on patients.
15. The Panel was disappointed at the Registrant’s failure, despite the clear recommendation of the last reviewing panel, to attend today’s review hearing, or to participate by telephone. It was unsatisfactory that the Registrant had failed to provide any references or testimonials relating to his current employment. He had further failed to demonstrate any attempts to obtain employment as a Paramedic or in another service-user-facing role and thereby to address the concerns relating to his past misconduct by giving effect to the Conditions of Practice Order.
16. In these circumstances, the Panel could not be confident that the Registrant had remediated his practice so that there was no risk of repetition of his past misconduct.
17. The Panel also took into account the need to uphold proper standards of conduct on the part of registrants and considered that public confidence in the profession would be undermined if there was no finding of current impairment.
18. In deciding what sanction, if any, to impose, the Panel took into account the HCPC’s “Indicative Sanctions Policy”, and considered the available sanctions in ascending order, whilst applying the principle of proportionality.
19. The case was too serious for the Panel to take no further action on the expiry of the existing Order. Mediation was not relevant.
20. The Panel considered that a Caution Order would not provide any protection for the public because a caution order would not restrict the Registrant’s ability to practise. Therefore, given the Registrant’s limited insight and the consequent risk of repetition of his misconduct, a caution order is not appropriate.
21. In considering whether to impose a Conditions of Practice Order, the Panel considered that the Registrant’s misconduct is capable of remediation. However, given the absence of evidence that he had, since the imposition of the Conditions of Practice Order in January 2016, made any effort to obtain employment as a Paramedic or in another service-user-facing role and thereby observe and implement the conditions of practice imposed, the Panel decided that it would be ineffective to impose further conditions of practice at this time.
22. In the circumstances, the Panel decided to impose a Suspension Order for a period of 9 months to give the Registrant a further chance to demonstrate that he has finally gained insight into the negative impact of his past misconduct on service users and members of the public and that he is serious about demonstrating that he is fit to return to practise as a Paramedic.
23. The Panel did give serious consideration to making a Striking Off order in view of the Registrant’s lack of engagement and continued limited insight but decided, on balance, given the Registrant’s continued expressions of remorse and stated desire to resume practice as a Paramedic, that such an order would be disproportionate at this time.
24. At the next review of this Order, the reviewing Panel is likely to be assisted by the following:
• the Registrant’s attendance at the hearing or, at the very least, his participation by telephone or video-link;
• up to date references and testimonials relating to his employment, whether for paid or unpaid work, since January 2016;
• evidence that over a sustained period the Registrant has demonstrated in the workplace (paid or unpaid) a respectful and non-discriminatory attitude to female colleagues and that he is aware of the need to avoid acting in a way that has a negative impact on service users or members of the public.
The order imposed today will apply from 6 August 2017.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 6 May 2018.
History of Hearings for Mr Richard Senior
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|07/07/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|21/12/2015||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Conditions of Practice|