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The Panel had convened to hear an application to dispose of the current proceedings by consent, pursuant to a Voluntary Removal Agreement (VRA) made between the Registrant and the Council, dated 9 February 2017.
The allegation previously faced by the Registrant, now to be with withdrawn with the consent of the HCPC, was as follows:
While registered as a Paramedic and employed by South Western Ambulance Service:
1. On 13 September 2014 you attended Patient A and:
(a) did not carry out an adequate clinical assessment of Patient A
(b) did not complete a Patient Care Record form
(c) did not transport Patient A to hospital and/or discharged the patient on scene
2. The matters described at paragraph 1 amount to 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 concluded that Notice of the hearing had been sent on 21 February 2017 by recorded delivery and first class post to the Registrant’s registered address, in accordance with Rule 3 of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) Procedure Rules 2003.
Proceeding in absence
2. Ms Marris submitted that the Panel should proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel took account of the Legal Assessor’s advice. It was mindful that the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant must be exercised with the utmost care and caution.
3. The Panel had sight of an email dated 16 March 2017 from the Registrant stating that he would not be attending the hearing.
4. The Panel concluded that the Registrant had absented himself from the hearing voluntarily. He had said that he would not be attending. He had not requested an adjournment and the Panel had no reason to believe that an adjournment would result in his attendance. Having weighed the interests of the Registrant with the public interest that lay in an expeditious disposal of this hearing, the Panel determined to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
5. The Panel heard that the Registrant had made a self-referral to the HCPC in February 2015. He said that he had been the subject of a disciplinary hearing instigated by his employer, South West Ambulance Service.
6. The Panel had sight of the employer’s statement of case, which informed the Panel that in September 2014 the Registrant had attended a patient who had fallen in his home. It was suggested that the Registrant had not carried out a full patient assessment, had not completed a Patient Care Record Form, had not transported the patient to hospital and had inappropriately discharged the patient at the scene.
7. The Registrant did not dispute the allegations at the disciplinary hearing, accepting that the care he had provided had fallen short of what was expected. The allegations were upheld and a final written warning issued.
8. A learning and development review carried out in January 2016 highlighted concerns about the Registrant’s practice. As a result, his practice was restricted to that of an Emergency Care Assistant, and a Development Action plan was put in place. In June 2016, South West Ambulance Service informed the HCPC that on review it had been decided that the Registrant was not performing at an appropriate level. The Registrant had resigned from his position.
9. Following the HCPC’s investigation, the allegation had been put before a panel of the Investigating Committee on 22 August 2016, who found there was a case to answer.
10. In response to the allegation the Registrant had sent an email on 6 July 2016, in which he admitted the allegation and advised that he had retired from the post of paramedic. He stated that he had no intention of seeking further employment in the medical field and had decided to give up his place on the register. In a letter dated 7 August 2016, the Registrant again stated that he no longer wished to be registered with the HCPC and had no intention of continuing to practise. The Registrant reiterated these points in a letter dated 16 September 2016, requesting voluntary removal from the register.
11. A Voluntary Removal Agreement was sent to the Registrant, which was returned signed and witnessed. The Panel had sight of the Voluntary Removal Agreement dated 9 February 2017.
12. The Panel had to decide whether to grant the application or to direct that the allegation be set down for a hearing. In making that decision, the Panel took into account the guidance given in the HCPC’s Practice Note “Disposal of Cases by Consent”. It considered whether the VRA would secure the appropriate level of public protection and whether granting the application would be detrimental to the public interest.
13. The Panel agreed that there is clear evidence of allegations which are capable of proof, and which are admitted by the Registrant, who also admits impairment. The Panel noted that the Registrant has stated that he no longer wishes to practise as a Paramedic and wishes to have his name removed from the register.
14. The Panel was satisfied that the granting of the application would adequately protect the public and would not be detrimental to the public interest. The Registrant had admitted the allegation formally in the VRA. The Panel had received no evidence to suggest that it would not be in the public interest for the fitness to practise proceedings be disposed of as proposed by the VRA. The Panel therefore concluded that it is in the interests of all concerned – the Registrant, the HCPC and the wider public interest – for this to take place.
15. For those reasons, the Panel decided to grant the application.
The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Mr Ronald W Schofield from the Register with immediate effect.
History of Hearings for Ronald Shofield
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|17/03/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Unknown||Voluntary Removal agreed|