Dr Elise Rivlin
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Your fitness to practise as a Practitioner Psychologist is impaired by reason of your health.
1. Prior to the hearing the HCPC had made an application to the Panel Chairman requesting that the medical report before the Panel be admitted in the capacity of evidence from an Expert Witness. This application had been approved.
Hearing expert witness evidence by way of telephone communication
2. At the hearing, the HCPC made an application for the expert witness, the only HCPC witness, Dr S, to provide his evidence via the telephone as Dr S has been required, unexpectedly, to leave the country for family reasons.
3. Dr S’s expert report was before the Panel and as there were no issues such as assessment of credibility or demeanour, the Panel was content for his response to questions to be provided on the telephone.
Hearing in private
4. There was an application by the HCPC, supported by the Registrant, for this hearing to be heard in private given that the case is intrinsically related to the Registrant’s health, it is appropriate for the Panel to exercise its discretion to hear this matter in private.
5. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and accepted that it was appropriate for the whole of the hearing to be heard in private.
Decision on ground and impairment
6. The Panel had before it a report prepared by Dr S, acting in an expert witness capacity. In advance of preparing that report Dr S had undertaken an interview with the Registrant and had been given access to her medical records, documentation which was not before the Panel. Dr S stated that prior to May 2015 there were no medical entries that indicated any relevant health condition but there had been several entries made since. The Registrant has stated her acceptance of the diagnosis of her health condition and her current impairment. She had refrained from practice since her illness in May 2015.
7. In relation to impairment, the Panel reminded itself that the test of impairment is expressed in the present tense, that fitness to practise ‘is impaired’. Dr S’s report relates to an interview undertaken in December 2016 and completed in January 2017. This is evidence that there is a condition which supports a lack of fitness to practise as of today.
Decision on Sanction
8. The HCPC advanced the argument that in the circumstances of this case there was only one restriction which would be appropriate, and that was of suspension. This was required to ensure service user protection and to maintain the profession’s reputation.
9. The Panel considered that it was not only in the interests of service user and the wider public but also the Registrant’s that her practice be restricted at this time.
10. As directed, the Panel started its deliberations at the bottom of the scale. It considered that taking no further action or mediation inappropriate in this case. It discounted a Caution Order as this did not provide any level of service user protection. A Conditions of Practice Order will not be workable or appropriate as the Registrant has been a sole practitioner and there is no employer or likely future employer. It would also, in the Panel’s view, not provide the sufficient degree of service user protection.
11. The Panel has therefore come to the conclusion that the appropriate and proportionate measure in this instance is the imposition of a Suspension Order for a period of twelve months. As stated above, the Order is made for service user protection, being in the public interest and also in the interest of the Registrant. Having made this decision the Panel therefore decided that it was also appropriate to make an interim order on the same three bases.
The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Dr Elise Rivlin for a period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect with no review before the expiration of 10 months.
A review will not take place before 10 months after this order has come into effect.