Mr Kevin E Trevorrow
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While registered as an Operating Department Practitioner:
1. On 25 September 2014, you self-administered or attempted to self-administer Propofol and/or Rocuronium in your workplace and while on duty:
2. On 26 May 2015 at Torquay Magistrates’ Court, you were found to have stolen 2 x 50ml Ampuls of Propofol and 4 x 5mL of Rocuronium, to the value of £48.00 belonging to Torbay Hospital, contrary to section 1(1) and 7 of the Theft Act 1968.
3. For the matter described in paragraph 2 you were discharged conditionally for 12 months;
4. The matters outlined at paragraphs 1 – 3 constitute misconduct; and
5. By reason of that misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. The case for the Health and Care Professions Council was presented by Ms Leila Chaker of Kingsley Napley, Solicitors. The Registrant was not present or represented.
2. The Panel considered Ms Chaker’s application to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel was satisfied that notice of today’s hearing had been properly served on the Registrant in terms of rules 3 and 6 of the Conduct and Competence Committee Procedure Rules and it therefore had a discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence in terms of rule 11. The Panel considered the submissions of Ms Chaker, the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPC Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant.
3. The Panel is aware that the discretion to proceed in absence is one which must be exercised with the utmost care and caution. The Panel had sight of two emails from the Registrant to the HCPC dated 3 November 2016 and 19 January 2017 in which he advised that he will not be in attendance at the hearing and will not be represented. He has also advised that he is not asking for any other dates as he will not be attending any future hearings. In reaching its decision, the Panel has borne in mind the need to strike a careful balance between the Registrant’s interests and the wider public interest. There is one witness for the HCPC available to give evidence today by video link. The allegation dates back to 2014 and there is a public interest in the case being heard in a timely manner. Given the terms of the Registrant’s emails of 3 November 2016 and 19 January 2017, the Panel is of the view that he has voluntarily absented himself and that an adjournment would be unlikely to secure his attendance at a future date. The Panel has therefore agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so.
4. The Panel next considered Ms Chaker’s application to amend particular 1 of the allegation by adding the words “self-administered or” after the word “you” on line 1 of that particular and by adding “/or” before the word “Rocuonium” and correcting the spelling of “Rocuoniom” to “Rocuronium”. The Panel was advised that notice of the amendment had been served on the Registrant and no response had been received. The Panel considered the advice of the Legal Assessor and agreed to grant the application as it was satisfied that it better reflected the evidence before the Panel and did not cause injustice to the Registrant.
5. Ms Chaker thereafter made an application to the Panel for parts of the hearing to be held in private in terms of rule 10(1)(a) of the Conduct and Competence Procedure Rules in order to protect the private life of the Registrant. Ms Chaker asked that any references to the Registrant’s health or his significant personal relationship difficulties should be taken in private.
6. The Panel considered Ms Chaker’s application. The Panel took into account the HCPC’s practice note on Conducting Hearings in Private and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel is aware that the open justice principle requires that proceedings should be heard in public, that evidence should be communicated publicly and that fair, accurate and contemporaneous media reporting of proceedings should not be prevented unless strictly necessary and that conducting hearings in private is regarded as the exception. However, the Panel concluded that the right of the Registrant to protect his private life and the confidentiality of his health issues outweighed the general presumption of hearings being conducted in public. The Panel therefore agreed that it would be appropriate to take these matters in private and agreed to grant the application.
7. The Registrant was employed as an Operating Department Practitioner at the South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (“the Trust”) from 2007 to March 2015. He was initially employed in the General Theatres and subsequently in the Day Surgery Unit. It is alleged that on 25 September 2014, the Registrant either self-administered or attempted to self-administer Propofol and Rocuronium. On 26 May 2015 at Torbay Magistrates Court, the Registrant was found to have stolen 2 x 50ml ampules of Propofol and 4 x 5ml of Rocuronium, to the value of £48 belonging to Torbay Hospital and was given a 12 month conditional discharge.
Decision on Facts
8. The Panel heard evidence by video link from one witness on behalf of the HCPC: Witness 1, a Matron in Trauma and Orthopaedics at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (“the Trust”), who conducted an investigation into the allegation that the Registrant had stolen drugs from Torbay Hospital. The Panel also considered the statement of Witness 2, the Security Manager who conducted an investigation into the criminal element of the Registrant’s conduct, as hearsay evidence.
9. The Panel found Witness 1 to be a credible and reliable witness whose evidence was fair and balanced. Although she did not give direct evidence in respect of the Allegation, her evidence was supported by the signed records of the interviews she conducted with eleven employees who were on shift on the 25 September 2014 and her interview with the Registrant. The Panel also accepted the evidence of Witness 2, which although hearsay was largely supported by the Memorandum of Conviction dated 25 September 2015.
10. The Panel heard evidence from Witness 1 in support of this particular and had sight of the signed records of the interviews Witness 1 conducted with eleven employees who were on shift on the 25 September 2014, together with her interview with the Registrant. The Panel also noted the admissions made by the Registrant during his interview with Witness 1 on 5 December 2014, and the admissions made in relation to this particular in the course of his police interview on 25 October 2014. The evidence of the witnesses is that very little, if any, of the drugs had been administered. The evidence is that the Registrant was still conscious and talking when he was found. The Panel is therefore satisfied that the facts of this particular are proved on the balance of probabilities in that the Registrant attempted to administer Propofol and Rocuronium in his workplace and while on duty.
Particulars 2 and 3
11. The Panel next considered Particulars 2 and 3. The Panel had sight of the signed Memorandum of Conviction from Torquay Magistrates Court dated 25 September 2015 which confirmed that on 1 May 2015, the Registrant pleaded guilty to theft of 2 x 50ml ampuls of Propofol and 4 x 5ml of Rocuronium, to the value of £48, belonging to Torbay Hospital, contrary to Section 1(1) and 7 of the Theft Act 1968. It confirmed that the Registrant was discharged conditionally for 12 months. In addition, the Panel had regard to the statement of Witness 2, the Security Manager who conducted an investigation into the criminal element of the Registrant’s conduct. The Registrant admitted the theft of Propofol and Rocuronium in the course of his interview with Witness 1 on 5 December 2014. He also admitted the theft in the course of his police interview at Torquay Police Station on 25 October 2014 when he attended voluntarily. Taking all of these matters into account, the Panel is satisfied that the facts of particulars 2 and 3 have been proved on the balance of probabilities.
Decision on Grounds
12. The Panel next considered whether the Registrant’s actions in particulars 1, 2 and 3 amount to misconduct. The Panel is aware that this is a matter for its professional judgement. In reaching its decision, the Panel has also considered the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel has found that the Registrant stole and attempted to use drugs belonging to his employers, thereby seeking to put his own life at risk. In doing so, the Registrant abused his position of trust by taking drugs which were easily accessible to someone in his position. His behaviour had a serious effect on colleagues and he had clearly calculated that there were would be a serious effect on one particular staff member with whom he had had a personal relationship. The Panel is of the view that the Registrant’s conduct in particulars 1, 2 and 3 breached the following standards of the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics in force at the relevant time :-
• Standard 3 – You must keep high standards of personal conduct.
• Standard 12 – You must limit your work or stop practising if your performance or judgement is affected by your health.
• Standard 13 – You must behave with honesty and integrity and make sure that your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession.
13. The Panel considers that in stealing drugs from the Trust the Registrant has breached one of the fundamental tenets of the profession. The Registrant’s conduct was serious and fell well below the standards expected of a registered health professional. Taking all of these matters into account, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant’s conduct in particulars 1, 2 and 3 amounts to misconduct.
Decision on Impairment
14. The Panel next considered whether the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired by that misconduct. In reaching its decision the Panel has considered both the personal component and the public component. The Panel has also considered the advice of the Legal Assessor.
15. In terms of the personal component, the Panel heard evidence from Witness 1 that the Registrant had been held in high regard at the Trust. Witness 1 gave evidence that in the course of her interview with the Registrant he demonstrated some insight and expressed some remorse for his behaviour. However the Panel has formed the view that the Registrant, whilst expressing some remorse, does not have full insight into the impact of his actions on his colleagues, on the profession and on public confidence in the profession. The Panel has also considered the question of remediation. While the Panel accepts that the Registrant was experiencing health issues at the time of the allegations, the Panel has no up to date information on the Registrant’s current health. The Registrant has not produced any evidence of remediation, and in these circumstances, the Panel has taken the view that there is a real risk of repetition.
16. The Panel has also considered the critically important public policy issues which include the collective need to maintain public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process, the protection of service users and the declaring and upholding of proper standards of behaviour.
17. The Panel has found that the Registrant has stolen drugs from his employers and then used them personally while on duty. The Panel has concluded that there is a serious risk of an adverse impact on public confidence in the profession of operating department practitioners and in the regulatory process, if a finding of impairment were not made in these circumstances.
18. The Panel therefore finds that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired by his misconduct and the Allegation is well founded.
Decision on Sanction
19. The Panel has heard further submissions from Ms Chaker on the issue of sanction. The Panel is aware that the function of fitness to practise panels is not to be punitive, and that the primary function of any sanction is to address public safety from the perspective of the risk the Registrant may pose to those using or needing his services in the future. In reaching its decision, the Panel must also give appropriate weight to the wider public interest considerations, which include the deterrent effect on other registrants, the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the regulatory process. The Panel has considered the sanctions available to it in ascending order of severity and has had regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy and considered the advice of the Legal Assessor.
20. The Panel has paid careful regard to the following mitigating factors: the Registrant has demonstrated some remorse and insight; the Registrant admitted matters in full at the first opportunity both to his employers and to the police; the Registrant had health issues at the time of the allegation which may have adversely influenced his judgement; there have been no previous fitness to practise proceedings against the Registrant; the Registrant appears to have been held in high regard within the Trust.
21. The Panel has also considered the aggravating factors as follows: the Registrant’s actions breached the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics; his actions involve theft of drugs from the Trust which breaches a fundamental tenet of the profession; he has not demonstrated full insight and remorse; he has not produced any evidence of remediation, leading the Panel to conclude that there is a risk of repetition; his actions had a substantial impact on his colleagues; his actions were calculated with the intention of causing emotional harm to a particular colleague with whom he had had a relationship; there was a complete lack of regard of the impact of his behaviour on his colleagues, the Trust and his profession; his actions had the potential to impact on the treatment of patients by diverting colleagues to attend to his needs.
22. The Panel first considered whether to take no further action. It is of the view that this would not be sufficient to address the wider public interest considerations or to provide public protection. The Panel has also concluded that this case would not be suitable for mediation.
23. The Panel next considered a Caution Order. In terms of the Indicative Sanctions Policy, a caution may be appropriate where the lapse is isolated or of a minor nature, there is a low risk of recurrence and the Registrant has shown insight and taken remedial action. While the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has demonstrated some insight and remorse, there is no evidence of remediation. In addition, the Panel has found that the Registrant’s misconduct was serious and that in the absence of any evidence of remediation, there is a risk of repetition. In these circumstances, the Panel is of the view that a caution would not be an appropriate or proportionate sanction.
24. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. However given the nature of the Registrant’s conduct which includes theft of drugs from his employers, the Panel is of the view that no meaningful practice restrictions could be imposed to address such conduct.
25. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. In terms of the Indicative Sanctions Policy, a Suspension Order may be appropriate where the allegation is of a serious nature but is unlikely to be repeated. The Panel has already identified a risk of repetition, in the absence of evidence of remediation. While the Panel is of the view that the Registrant’s conduct is remediable, there is no evidence before the Panel that he is either able or willing to resolve or remedy his serious failings. In these circumstances, the Panel is of the view that Suspension Order would serve no useful purpose, nor would it be sufficient to address the wider public interest considerations.
26. The Panel has therefore concluded that a Striking Off would be the appropriate sanction, given the nature and gravity of the conduct found proved and given the lack of full insight, remorse and remediation on the part of the Registrant. The Registrant’s conduct on 25 September 2014 was very serious in that it was a deliberate act which was meticulously planned to cause the maximum upset to a colleague. In addition, he stole drugs from his employers. Taking all of these circumstances into account, the Panel is agreed that any lesser sanction would lack deterrent effect on other Registrants and would undermine confidence in the profession concerned and the regulatory process. In all the circumstances, the Panel has concluded that a Striking Off Order is a proportionate sanction.
Order: The Panel directs the Registrar to strike the name of Kevin E.Treverrow from the Register from the date that this order takes effect.
The order imposed today will apply from 18 April 2017 (the operative date).