Lee Parkin

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA31623

Interim Order: Imposed on 18 Jun 2017

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 08/08/2018 End: 16:00 10/08/2018

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

 

Allegation (As amended at Substantive Hearing):

 

While registered with the Health and Care Professions EMAS as a Paramedic and during the course of your employment with the East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, you:

 

1. Engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Patient A, in that you:


a) sent a number of text messages to Patient A which contained inappropriate content, including:


i. asking her what she would like you to do to her the next time you visited her;


ii. telling her that she must not show anyone in the ambulance service the messages about your friendship.

 

b) gave Patient A a thank you card.

 

c) on or around 30 July 2016, whilst on duty transported Patient A to Asda in an EMAS vehicle;
i. without clinical reason and/or justification and/or authorisation;
ii. to enable her to purchase alcohol.

 

d) on or around 20 June 2016, transported Patient A to lkea.

 

2. Your actions at paragraphs 1(a) – (d) were sexually motivated.

 

3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 (a) - (d) and 2 constitute misconduct.

 

4. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters:

Service:

1. The Panel determined that there had been good service of the Notice of Hearing dated 10 July 2018. The Notice stated the time, date and venue of the hearing and had been sent by the HCPC by first class post.


Proceeding in Absence:

2. The Panel noted the HCPC’s submission to proceed in the Registrant’s absence and accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. In reaching its decision, the Panel took into account the HCPC’s Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of Registrants. The Registrant has not requested an adjournment. He has not engaged with the HCPC since 16 June 2017, when he indicated by email that “I will not be attending any of the hearings related to this case” and that he was looking for “other employment outside of the health care industry.”  The Panel noted that the Registrant has not requested an adjournment and has had good notice of the Notice of Hearing. The Panel concluded that, even if it adjourned this hearing, there would not be a realistic prospect of the Registrant attending in light of his June 2017 comments and his lack of engagement since. In addition, there are three HCPC witnesses waiting to give evidence on the first two days of the hearing. The Panel concluded that to adjourn without a specific request from the Registrant would be disproportionate to the interests of the regulatory body. The Panel was satisfied that the HCPC had used all reasonable efforts to communicate with the Registrant and that the Registrant has decided of his own volition not to attend the hearing. The Panel determined that the expeditious disposal of all matters in the public interest is as important as the Registrant’s own interests. A fair hearing can be achieved in the absence of Registrant, as the hearing has safeguards in place to permit that, including the presence of the independent Legal Assessor.


Amendment of Allegation:

3. The Panel noted the submission of Mr Dite to amend the Particulars of the Allegation and accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. The Panel also took into account that the Registrant had received notice on 22 February 2018 of all the amendments, except one relating to a typographical error specifically in particular 1c) in which reference is made to “Adsa” rather than Asda.  In relation to those of which the Registrant has had notice, the Panel determined that, as the Registrant has not objected to them and as the amendments are reflected by the evidence in the papers, these can be permitted as fair and without prejudice for the Registrant.  In addition, the Panel concluded that the typographical error referred to above was obvious from reading the papers and would have been obvious to the Registrant on reading them, and is a technical rectification that is necessary for a proper consideration of the case. Hence, for these reasons, the Panel has decided to allow all the amendments requested by the HCPC.


Private/Public hearings:

4. The Panel noted the submission of Mr Dite, and the fact that there may be references throughout the hearing to the health condition and family circumstances of the Registrant. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and paid regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note on Conducting Hearings in Private. The Panel determined that the private and family life of the Registrant should be protected and the Regis-trant’s health condition and family life should be referred to in private.

Background:

5. The Registrant, Lee Parkin, was employed by the East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (‘EMAS’) as a Paramedic between 1 July 2002 and 8 May 2017.  At the time of the events covered by the factual particulars of the allegation the Registrant was working as a sole responder in a “response car” (otherwise known as a fast response vehicle or ‘FRV’) in the Derby area.

6. Patient A was a high volume user of 999 services and was also known to the Police.  She was also known to misuse alcohol.  She had received a suspended sentence in March 2014 for persistent use of the 999 system and for assaulting a paramedic. She was later, after the events in question, imprisoned for continued  persistent use of the 999 system.

7. In the course of his duties, the Registrant attended Patient A at her home address on 27 May 2016 and 30 July 2016 in response to 999 calls made by Patient A.

8. On 30 July 2016 Patient A made multiple 999 calls that resulted in different EMAS staff attending at her address on multiple occasions on that date. Two of those attendances resulted in independent concerns being raised about the relationship between Patient A and the Registrant: one from the attendance of an EMAS crew which included RB (Emergency Medical Technician) and EB (Paramedic) and one from the attendance of CB (Emergency Care Practitioner) who at-tended in a solo vehicle. The Registrant’s one attendance at Patient A’s premises on 30 July 2016 had been as a result of her 999 call placed at 03:05am. RB and EB had also attended on Patient A  a few weeks prior to 30 July 2016. On that occasion Patient A had asked whether they knew a paramedic called Lee. She showed them a greeting card which had been signed off as “Lee”. RB recognised the handwriting as belonging to the Registrant.

9. On 30 July 2016, RB’s EMAS crew, including EB and a trainee Technician, again attended on Patient A as a result of a 999 call placed at 13:39. On this occasion Patient A appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. She again had the same greeting card on display, talked about her friendship with the Registrant, showed RB text messages on her phone which she said were from the Registrant, and reported that the Registrant had taken her to Asda in his paramedic car on a previous occasion.  After this attendance, RB raised concerns with a Team Leader and, as requested, hand wrote an account of what had occurred that same day. EB also hand wrote a statement on 30 July 2016.

10. Later on 30 July 2016, as a result of a 999 call placed at 23:40, CB, Emergency Care Practitioner, attended Patient A alone. The patient again appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Patient A told CB that her “boyfriend” was a paramedic called “Lee”, showed her a greeting card that was signed “Lee”, and referred to a text message that she said had come from him. At CB’s request, Patient A read out the majority of the digits of the number from which she claimed the message came, and when CB entered these digits into her phone it came up with the Registrant’s contact details. Patient A showed CB a rug and said that the Registrant had taken her to Ikea to enable its purchase. She also told CB that the previous night the Registrant had taken her to Asda in his “ambulance car”.  CB raised concerns with her manager a few days later on 3 August 2016 and, as requested, hand wrote an account of what had occurred.

11. The Registrant made a self-referral to the HCPC on 3 August 2016, advising that he had been suspended from duty that day whilst an investigation into an alleged inappropriate relationship with a patient took place.

12. GS, a Duty Operations Manager for EMAS (Nottingham area), was subsequently appointed to investigate the concerns. He did not know the Registrant, as he, GS, worked in a different geographical area from the Registrant.  During the investigation, GS interviewed and took statements from EB on 15 September 2016, RB on 15 Sep-tember 2016, CB on 14 October 2016 and the Registrant on 30 November 2016. The process of taking a statement from the Registrant had been delayed due to advice to GS from EMAS’s Occupational Health Department.  As part of his investigation GS also obtained:

• A vehicle log of the Registrant’s vehicle on 30 July 2016;

• A plotted route from vehicle log using Google maps;

• A Control Room log for the 30 July 2016 call out;

• Transcripts of communication between the Registrant and the Emergency Operations Centre on 30 July 2016;

• Confirmation that no Patient Report Form (“PRF”) could be located in relation to the Registrant’s attendance on Patient A on 30 July 2016; and

• A PRF for the Registrant’s attendance on Patient A on 27 May 2016.


13. A disciplinary hearing was held on 18 April 2017. The Registrant had submitted an “Employee Statement” prior to that hearing. At the hearing and in his “Employee Statement”, the Registrant made admissions over and above those he had already made in his investigation interview. In particular, despite the explanation he had given when previously interviewed for why he travelled to Asda on the 30 July 2016, he admitted he had in fact taken Patient A to Asda in his EMAS vehicle so that she could purchase alcohol.


14. The Panel heard evidence from the following HCPC witnesses:

• GS, the Investigating Officer;

• RB, an Emergency Medical Technician;

• CB, an Emergency Care Practitioner.


Decision on Facts:

15. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. In reaching its decision, the Panel noted that the burden and standard of proof is that the HCPC must show that the facts are proved on the balance of probabilities. The Panel gave the words “inappropriate relationship” and “sexually motivated” their ordinary meaning. It also gave the hearsay evidence in this hearing the weight it considered appropriate, in light of that evidence not having been tested by questions. The Panel also took into account the contents of the bundle provided to it of the HCPC witness statements and exhibits, including the Registrant’s various statements to EMAS, and it took into account the written and oral submissions of Mr Dite.

16. The Panel formed the following views of the HCPC witnesses:

GS:
17. He was credible, consistent, fair and objective. His role involved a structured investigation and the collation of  facts surrounding the  Registrant’s conduct and he was not a direct witness to any of the matters set out in the Particulars of Allegation. His written and oral evidence was consistent and prepared with care.


RB:
18.He was an honest witness, who tried hard to assist the Panel.  However, there was one inconsistency on an important matter that had an impact on the tone of the case against the Registrant.  Therefore, the Panel decided to look elsewhere for other corroborative evidence of any individual fact upon which he gave evidence in other matters, both written and oral. It was clear that an element of human error was present in that one part of his evidence and, to that end, RB was open and candid about it and he did not seek to resile from that in his oral evidence when asked about the inconsistency in his written statements.  In any event, the Panel felt that it was entitled to accept other aspects of his evidence that was more credible and consistent and the Panel decided that one error did not contaminate his entire evidence.


CB:
19. She was consistent, fair, credible, reliable and professional in the  quality of her evidence, both written and oral, in her actions in 2016 and in her demeanour in this hearing. She acknowledged the Registrant’s qualities as a Paramedic, but also sought to test, objectively at the time of the events, the evidence that she was confronted with from Patent A, by seeking the Registrant’s number from her and obtaining the majority of the digits, resulting in the Registrant’s name appearing on her contacts list. Hence, by her diligence, this witness established the likely identity of the Registrant as the paramedic whom Patient A was discussing.  CB was aware that  Patient A had a history of alcohol misuse, was a known high volume user of 999 services and had a history of violence against ambulance staff and abuse of the system for which she has subsequently been imprisoned.  CB attended Patient A on only one occasion on 30 July 2016 when she observed her intoxicated.  All of these factors led to the care that CB took to illicit more reliable evidence of what she had been told by Patient A.  The Panel was impressed by her wisdom, intelligence and professionalism.        


Findings:

Particulars of Allegation:

1(a)(i): Not Proved:

20. The Panel had concerns that the only direct evidence relating to the words “to her” was from RB. He had produced three written versions of what he said he saw on Patient A’s telephone text section about this:

a) his handwritten contemporaneous account dated 30 July 2016, in which there is no reference to the words “to her”; only that “when he comes up next time what would she like him to do” in relation to the Registrant’s alleged text to Patient A;
 
b)his typed statement, dated 15 September 2016 (about six weeks later), to EMAS for its internal investigation process, where RB included the words “to her” and where the whole text allegedly read “when he comes next time, what would she like him to do to her.” in relation to the Registrant’s alleged text to Patient A;

c) His witness statement dated 8 November 2017 (16 months after the events) for these HCPTS proceedings in which he stated, about the content of that text (paragraph 15) “…She” (Patient A) “continued to show me” (RB) “further messages, in which I” (RB) “recall she was asked what she would like him” (the Registrant) “to do to her next time he visited.”


21. The Panel concluded that this mixture of versions of what was purported to have been seen by RB was inconsistent. The Panel preferred to take RB’s contemporaneous account of what he had seen on Patient A’s phone and, to that end, it was clear that there was no mention of a request by the Registrant to Patient A as to what she would want him to do to her on the next occasion he visited. What was clear from the consistent parts of this witness’ evidence, on all three versions, was that the Registrant had asked Patient A what she wanted to do on the next occasion he visited.  The Panel accepted this as being more likely than not what was on the text sent by the Registrant to Patient  A.  The Panel had to be cautious about this Particular of Allegation, in light of how the HCPC was putting its case overall and in light of the type of person that Patient A had been portrayed in the HCPC’s case - a person with alcohol problems, linked to past abuse of the ambulance system and to past violent behaviour and ultimate court intervention and impris-onment.  Therefore, as hearsay evidence, her reliability would be need to be tested overall, and, in particular, in this Particular of Allegation, as to what, precisely, she had said that the Registrant had texted to her and precisely what she had shown the witnesses and what they saw. It was clear from CB’s oral evidence that her view of the texts was from some distance away and she had not been able to identify the precise words on this particular text, from her physical view of Patient A’s phone.

22. The Panel considered amending this Particular of Allegation at this stage, but concluded that this would be too prejudicial to, and unfair on, the Registrant, as the HCPC had not requested this, had brought its case on the basis of all the wording of the text as pleaded in the Particular of Allegation, the Registrant would not be on notice of this change, and such an amendment would comprise a significant change to the meaning of the text message. 


1(a)(ii): Proved:

23. The Panel was satisfied that CB’s evidence was clear that, although CB was too physically far away in the room to actually see the texts, she said that Patient A read out this text from the Registrant to Patient A, with words to the effect “please do not show to others” the texts he had sent to her. In addition, RB was clear that he saw that text. In the Panel’s judgement, RB’s evidence on this text was consistent in all three of his written accounts [as referred to in the Panel’s decision in relation to Particular of Allegation 1a)i), above]. The Panel was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that RB saw the text from the Registrant to Patient A that stated in his 30 July handwritten statement that Patient A should not tell anyone from the ambulance service about their friendship. He stated in his interview statement (15 September 2016) that he saw this text from the Registrant to Patient A and that it stated: “don't tell or show anyone from the ambulance service”, when RB was asked about the text messages. It was further re-stated in RB’s HCPTS witness statement at paragraph 15 where RB stated the contents of that text as : “Patient A should not tell any other ambulance staff about their friendship.”


1a): Proved.

24. The Registrant’s position as expressed at the EMAS disciplinary hearing was that he sent Patient A only one text message.  However, RB was clear and consistent in that he stated that he saw a number of texts on Patient A’s phone that were all signed off by “Lee.”  The Panel was therefore, satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Registrant sent Patient A a number of texts, two of which, as identified in the Panel’s findings in 1a)i) and 1a)ii), above, contained inap-propriate content. Despite finding Particular of Allegation 1a)i) not proved, the Panel only did so in relation to two words that were unable to be proved. The remainder of the text was found to have been sent by the Registrant to Patient A, as was the entirety of Particular of Allegation 1a)ii).

25. In relation to the content of both texts, the Panel concluded that paramedics have a specific task in their role to administer health care to members of the public in emergency situations and dispatch them to hospital as required. That role does not include forming personal friendships with patients or potential patients. The paramedic professional relationship with their patients should not engender further informal, non-professional visits and the sending of personally worded texts. The Panel concluded that the Registrant knew that, as evidenced by his request to Patient A not to show others in the ambu-lance service the texts linked to and/or about their friendship. The Registrant had crossed the boundary between the professional and the patient. This was especially perilous with such a volatile and po-tentially difficult patient as Patient A. For these reasons, the Panel determined that the content of the Registrant’s texts as set out in Particular of Allegation 1a)i) and 1a)ii) was inappropriate.


1(b): Proved.

26. The Panel was satisfied that the evidence from CB and RB proved this Particular of Allegation, as their evidence related to a personally worded card sent by the Registrant to Patient A and shown to both witnesses by Patient A. One, CB, described it as a greeting card and the other, RB, described it as a thank you card. The Panel determined that there was sufficient clarity on this from RB to accept his evidence and that there was sufficient similarity to this Particular of Allegation from CB’s evidence to capture the mischief of this Particular of Allegation. In any event, the Registrant had admitted that he had sent Patient A a thank you card when he was interviewed by GS for EMAS as part of its internal investigation process.


1(c): Proved.

27. 1(c) Facts: Proved.  The facts of the Registrant transporting Patient A on 30 July 2016 to Asda in an EMAS vehicle was clearly established by the written and oral evidence of RB and CB. In any event, the Reg-istrant had admitted that in his interview statement (undated) by EMAS as part of its internal investigation process.

 

1(c)(i): Proved.

28. The Registrant did give a clinical rationale during the EMAS internal investigation process for transporting Patient A to Asda on 30 July 2016 to purchase alcohol.  He stated that Patient A was demanding to be transported.  She was shaking and seemed to be in alcohol withdrawal.  This could have caused her, in the Registrant’s view, to have another fit.  The Panel concluded that there could be no valid clinical justification for the    Registrant to transfer Patient A to Asda to purchase alcohol without authorisation and/or subsequent safeguarding.  It was also clear from the factual matrix of the evidence that the journey to Asda had been made in an EMAS vehicle.  


1c)ii): Proved.

29. The Panel was satisfied that the evidence of RB and CB was clear and consistent about Patient A’s comment to them separately that the Registrant had taken her to Asda, possibly on the night before.  In any event, the Registrant admitted this in his interview to EMAS as part of its investigation. CB gave oral evidence that she would never transport a patient to a supermarket for the purpose of buying alcohol, although she had transported a patient to a supermarket in an EMAS vehicle to purchase analgesia in the past.
 

1(d): Proved.

30. The Panel was satisfied that the evidence of CB was clear and consistent about Patient A’s comment to her that the Registrant had taken her to Ikea. Furthermore, the Registrant admitted in the disciplinary hearing that the visit to Ikea coincided with the first MOT test of his own vehicle which took place 6 days before the retest of it on 26 June 2016, which dates the action to “on or around 20 June 2016.”


1 - Stem: Proved.

31. The Panel concluded that in sending inappropriate texts to Patient A, sending her a personally worded card, taking her, a patient with known alcohol and behavioural problems, to Asda to purchase alcohol in his employer’s vehicle and to Ikea on a visit there not related to his role as a paramedic, the Registrant acted outside his role as a paramedic and entered into and/or continued a personal relationship that he had allowed himself to enter into with this vulnerable patient. From the evidence of RB and CB, both of whom stated in their written and oral evidence that they were shocked when they realised what the Registrant had been doing in relation to Patient A, and in the Panel’s judgement, this demonstrated that the Registrant had entered in an inappropriate relationship with Patient A.


2: Not proved.

32. The Panel concluded that this was not a case where the activities found proved were, by their nature, sexual. In looking at the circumstances or purposes of those activities, the Panel had no evidence from his EMAS interview that the Registrant had a sexual motivation in or by his acts.    Indeed, when questioned about that by GS, he denied any sexual motivation.  The HCPC witnesses RB and CB could only surmise on this matter and the Panel was not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that this Particular of Allegation could be proved by conjecture and/or the opinions of the witnesses of fact. Patient A was not a witness and the Registrant was not present to give evidence on this. The Panel was aware that the absence of a Registrant should not imbalance these proceedings in any way, but in a case involving a serious allegation relating to sexual impropriety by a professional against a vulnerable patient, there has to be anxious and detailed analysis by the Panel to ensure that there is proper proof brought by the HCPC to establish the allegation to the required standard. This did not take place in relation to this Particular of Allegation, and, hence, for the reasons stated, this Particular of Allegation could not be found proved.


Decision on Grounds:

33. In reaching its decision on Misconduct, the Panel took into account the written and oral submissions of Mr Dite and the HCPC’s Standards for Conduct, Performance and Ethics (the Standards) and it’s Standards of Proficiency for Paramedics. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. The Panel noted that Misconduct should be judged in the round and that the Panel should use its judgement at this stage, and that there is no standard of proof.

34. In entering into an inappropriate with a vulnerable patient, in the Panel’s judgement, the Registrant breached the trust of his patient, his  employer and the profession. In the Panel’s opinion, the Registrant’s actions have brought the profession into disrepute and fall seriously below the standards expected of a registered paramedic. In so acting, the Panel concluded that the Registrant has breached several of the fundamental tenets of the profession, as follows:

Of the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics 2016:

• 1: Promote and protect the interests of service users and carers

• 1.7: You must keep your relationships with service users and carers professional;

• 6.1:  You must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible;

• 6.2:  You must not do anything, or allow someone else to do anything, which could put the health or safety of a service user, carer or colleague at unacceptable risk;

• 9.1: You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession;

• 9.6: You must co-operate with any investigation into your conduct or competence, the conduct or competence of others, or the care,  treatment of other services provided to service users.    

 

Of the Standards of Proficiency for Paramedics 2014:

• 2: be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

 

35. For these reasons, the Panel has determined that the facts found proved about to misconduct.

 

Decision on Impairment: 

36. The Panel took into account the written and oral submissions of Mr Dite, it accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and it took note of the HCPC’s Practice Note on Impairment. The Panel noted that it should use its judgement at this stage, as there is no standard of proof. The Panel also took into account that impairment is a forward looking concept and should not be punishment for past misconduct, but, rather, is action to preserve the health, welfare and safety of the public and to uphold the public’s confidence in the profession and in its reputation.

37. The Panel noted that the Registrant had expressed some remorse and regret and had admitted some matters in his interview with EMAS.   He has shown insight only insofar as he admitted at the disciplinary hearing that taking Patient A to Asda to purchase alcohol was a bad clinical decision and that he should have asserted his profes-sionalism in resisting her demands.  The Panel concluded that, although the misconduct involves the serious matter of the crossing of professional boundaries, it is remediable conduct. Howev-er, in light of the very limited insight by the Registrant and the lack of evidence concerning the commencement or successful com-pletion of any remediation process, there  remains a risk of repetition. 

38. In those circumstances, the Panel cannot conclude anything other than that the Registrant remains a danger to the health, safety and              well-being of patients, including vulnerable patients, and to the public, with the commensurate risk of repetition. Moreover, in the Panel’s judgement, public confidence in the profession, its reputation and in the regulatory process would be undermined if the Panel were to find this Registrant not to be currently impaired.

39. For these reasons, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of his misconduct.

 

Decision on Sanction:

40. The Panel noted the submission of Mr Dite. In reaching its decision, the Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and paid regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. The Panel took into account that sanction should not be primarily punitive and that it should approach sanction in ascending order.

41. The Panel took into account that the Registrant had a previous good record before this regulatory body and that he has been under an Interim Suspension Order since 19 June 2017. In relation to the Interim Order, the Panel noted the legal advice that it should not use the Interim Order to perform a mathematical calculation of its duration when determining the type and length of any relevant sanction, but, rather, the Panel should take the fact, the type and the length of it into account, in proportion, within the whole case.

42. The Panel considered that there were both aggravating and mitigating factors in this case, as follows:


Mitigating factors:

• A relatively long and unblemished career before this matter;

• A level of respect and friendliness towards him, historically, as evidenced by his two former colleagues;

• His early explanations and some admissions at the employer’s investigatory stages;

• Some challenging health circumstances;

• Some highly challenging personal circumstances;


Aggravating factors:

• A breach of the trust of a vulnerable patient;

• Abusing the trust of his employer by engaging in a personal relationship with a patient;

• Abuse of his professional position as a Paramedic by crossing professional boundaries;

• Placing each of his colleagues involved in the matters relating to this case in an invidious position, as evidenced by them;

• The misconduct found proved represented a pattern of behaviour.


43. The Panel first considered imposing no order, mediation and a Caution Order and rejected these outcomes. The matters found proved are sufficiently serious to merit being met by a commensurately serious sanction and one that enables the regulator to oversee the Registrant’s practice. The matters found proved are not at the lower end of the scale of failings within the profession and include a breach of trust relating to  a vulnerable patient and  the Registrant’s former employer, as well as the crossing of professional boundaries by the Registrant in relation to that patient. In the Panel’s opinion, imposing any of these outcomes would not provide any safeguards over the Registrant’s practice so as to be able to monitor any efforts he might make in the future at remediation and if those efforts had been sufficiently successful to allow a finding of no impairment in the future. In the Panel’s judgement, allowing the Registrant to return to practice now, without a more stringent sanction, would continue to put the public at risk and would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process.

44. The Panel next considered imposing a Conditions of Practice Order. The Registrant has not engaged in the HCPC process and the matters found proved are a serious breach of trust of a patient, where the Registrant appears to have only limited insight into his actions. The Panel has no information about his practice since these events and no information about any further insight he might have gained into the consequences of his failings, as well as any remediation, if he has commenced that. Without this information, the Panel has determined that it would put the public at continuing risk of harm if the Registrant were to be permitted to return to an as yet unknown practice setting without any conditions or a known supervisor/mentor in place to moni-tor his progress. The Panel concluded that it would be extremely difficult and risky to attempt to put conditions in place, with the identified lack of knowledge about his circumstances and his attitude to the case. Therefore, without any knowledge of the Registrant’s whereabouts, his intentions towards his identified failings and/or towards his profession or any plans for the future that he might have, the Panel has determined that a Conditions of Practice Order at this time would be unworkable and unrealistic and would therefore be wholly inappropriate. In the Panel’s judgement, imposing this sanction at this time would put the public at risk, would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process and would not be proportionate to the risks identified. 

45. The Panel next considered imposing a Suspension Order and deter-mined that the level of seriousness of the matters found proved could be adequately met with this sanction. In the Panel’s judgement the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors. The aggravating factors demonstrated the level of disquiet and anger engendered in the two witnesses involved in the case by the Registrant’s reckless and misplaced actions with Patient A, a vulnerable patient with a predisposition to alcohol misuse and violence, the latter of which represented a risk to ambulance staff.

46. A Suspension Order will prevent the Registrant from working as a paramedic on a temporary basis for its duration, but falls short of a permanent removal from the registrar. It has the effect, both of marking the gravity of the misconduct found proved, whilst also allowing the Registrant, before the Review of this Order, to engage with the HCPC and to commence remediation, if he so chooses. In the Panel’s judgement, imposing the higher sanction of Striking Off, for the reasons given, would be punitive and disproportionate at this time. The Panel considered that a Suspension Order of 12 months would be the most appropriate and proportionate period so as to allow the Registrant time to reflect upon the misconduct, engage with the HCPC and to commence remediation, if he so chooses.

47. It will be for the Registrant to decide what the Review Panel should be provided with from him, but it might be helped by:

• his attendance on the next occasion;

• a reflective piece which addresses the misconduct found;

• any training, including any CPD - related activity, in which he was able to partake that relates specifically to professional boundaries;

• any references and/or testimonials about his character and working practices, obtained in any employment environment, paid or unpaid;

• any future plans and aspirations he might have about his future practice within the profession;

• Any training in which he was able to partake that relates specifically to professional boundaries. 

48. The Panel has determined that the 12 month Suspension Order must be reviewed before its expiry.

 

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to amend the Register of Lee Parkin to show that there is a 12 month Suspension Order imposed in this case. 

Notes

 A Interim Suspension Order for a period of 18 months was imposed to cover the appeal period. 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Lee Parkin

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status