Victoria J Allen
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1. The Panel noted that a Notice of Hearing dated 5 March 2018 was sent to the Registrant at her registered address, by first class post. The letter gave notice of the hearing date of 6 April 2018. The Panel had sight of a signed certificate of posting.
2. There had been no response to the Notice of Hearing from the Registrant.
3. The Panel was satisfied in the circumstances that there had been proper service of the Notice of Hearing in accordance with the HCPC (Health Committee) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).
Application to proceed in absence
4. Mr Mason submitted that the hearing should proceed in the Registrant’s absence. He confirmed that the HCPC had received no contact from the Registrant in response to the Notice of Hearing, or at all, since prior to the initial hearing in April 2016. The current Order required to be reviewed timeously and it was in the public interest that the hearing proceed today.
5. The Panel considered the submissions of the HCPC Presenting Officer. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and referred to the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note dated 22 March 2017, “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”.
6. The Panel was mindful that its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant was one which must be exercised with great caution and with the overall fairness of the proceedings at the forefront of its mind. It considered the matter in accordance with the factors set out in the case of R v Jones (Anthony)  1 AC 1HL and the guidance in the case of GMC v Adeogba and GMC v Visvardis  EWCA Civ 162.
7. There has been no contact from the Registrant in response to the Notice of Hearing from the HCPC and no indication that she wished to attend the hearing or had sought an adjournment for any reason. Given the Registrant’s lack of engagement with the HCPC since 2016, the Panel concluded she would be unlikely to attend on a future occasion and therefore an adjournment would serve no useful purpose.
8. The Panel also took into account the overall fairness of the hearing and that it must also consider the public interest in regulatory proceedings being dealt with as expeditiously as possible. The Panel noted that the Notice of Hearing sent to the Registrant informed her of the Panel’s power to proceed in her absence and explained the powers available to the Panel at this hearing.
9. The current Order must be reviewed before its expiry. In the circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that it was appropriate, in the public interest and in the interest of the Registrant that this matter should proceed and be resolved today. The Panel determined to proceed with the review hearing today in the absence of the Registrant.
Hearing in private
10. Mr Mason, for the HCPC, applied for the hearing to take place in private on the ground that this was necessary to protect the Registrant’s private life.
11. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel agreed to the application on the ground of protection of the Registrant’s private life and the hearing proceeded in private. As such, this is a redacted public copy of the private determination.