Mrs Lynne Broadbent
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Hearing the proceedings in private
1.At the outset, Ms Senior for the HCPC applied for the whole of the review hearing to be in held in private on grounds that this was necessary to protect and safeguard the privacy of the Registrant as matters of her health would be raised.
2.The Panel was referred to and followed the guidance set out in the HCPTS Practice Note on Conducting Hearings in Private. It also received and accepted legal advice.
3.The Panel decided that, given the nature and sensitivity of the material it would be considering and in order to safeguard the Registrant’s privacy, it was appropriate for the whole of this review hearing concerning the Registrant’s health to be heard in private.
4.The Panel was shown an un-redacted copy of a letter from the HCPC dated 19 March 2018 sent by first-class post to the Registrant at her registered address. A copy of this letter, which gave notice of today's hearing, was also sent to the Registrant by email on the same date. The Panel noted that in the letter of 19 March 2018, the Scheduling Officer had incorrectly indicated that the Order to be reviewed was a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel was also shown an email dated 26 March 2018 from the HCPC Case Manager to the Registrant. In this email, the HCPC referred to a different address for the Registrant which has been provided to them by the Registrant's former solicitors, Messrs Thompson. The HCPC asked the Registrant to confirm at which address she was living. To date there has been no response from the Registrant to either the notice letter or the email.
5.The Panel has concluded that the HCPC has given proper notice of this review hearing in accordance with the relevant rules. In reaching its decision the Panel received and accepted legal advice. The Panel is satisfied that the HCPC sent notice to the Registrant's registered address, giving at least 28 days' notice of today's hearing. The error as to the type of order under review is not one that detracts from the fact that the notice letter set out the type of hearing, the date, time and venue of the hearing. The Panel is also satisfied that the HCPC has attempted to clarify with the Registrant via email where she is currently residing. The onus for ensuring that the registered address is up to date is firmly on the Registrant. The onus on the HCPC is to send notice of this hearing to the address appearing on the Register. This it has done.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
6.The Panel heard submissions from Ms Senior for the HCPC as to proceeding in the absence of the Registrant. In reaching its decision, the Panel has considered the HCPTS Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant. It has received and accepted legal advice.
7.The Panel has decided to proceed in the Registrant's absence. It has concluded that she has waived the right to be present and to be represented. The Panel noted that the Registrant appears to have provided her former solicitors, Messrs Thompson with a different address but has taken no steps to provide this to her regulatory body, the HCPC, despite it being her responsibility to do so. The Panel noted that the Registrant did not attend either the substantive hearing or the first review hearing. Furthermore, she failed to attend appointments arranged for her by the HCPC with a doctor who was appointed to provide an update on her medical condition. This lack of engagement which has now been apparent over a prolonged period reinforces the Panel's conclusion that the Registrant has voluntarily waived her right to be present. There has been no application for any adjournment and the Panel considered that an adjournment would not, in any event result in the Registrant’s attendance. The Panel is satisfied that it is in the public interest that this mandatory review hearing should take place before the expiration of the current Order of Suspension which is on 24 May 2018.
The Order imposed to today will apply from 24 May 2018.
This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 24 September 2018.