Mr Atridad S Saadat
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1. The Panel was satisfied that there was good service of the Notice of Hearing by a letter sent to the Registrant’s registered address dated 3 July 2018 which informed the Registrant of the date, time and venue of the hearing.
Proceeding in Absence
2. Ms Wills made an application for the hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She referred the Panel to an e-mail from the Registrant dated 5 July 2018. The Registrant states that he was signed off by his doctor and could not attend the hearing. He added that there would be communication from his medical team and that he would send a medical certificate covering the period 19 June 2018 to 14 September 2018. The Registrant provided a copy of the medical certificate.
3. The Registrant confirmed that he would not attend the hearing in an e-mail dated 29 July 2018. On 2 August he telephoned the HCPC and apologised that he is unable to attend the hearing due to his health condition.
4. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the guidance in the HCPC Practice Note “Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant”.
5. The Panel noted that the Registrant indicated that he would be available by telephone and email if the Panel had any questions. The Panel considered that this was not necessary, based on the information the Registrant has provided to the Panel.
6. It was clear from the Registrant’s correspondence that he was well informed of today’s hearing and unable to attend for health reasons. He has not requested an adjournment. The Panel considered that the Registrant was not prejudiced by the hearing proceeding in his absence, given his stated position. In the circumstances the Panel decided that it was in the public interest and the Registrant’s interests to proceed with the hearing.
Hearing in private
7. Ms Wills made an application for the whole of the hearing to be heard in private to protect the Registrant’s private life.
8. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The case entirely concerned the Registrant’s health and the Panel decided that it was appropriate to hear the whole of the case in private.
9. The Registrant was employed by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (the Trust) as a locum Biomedical Scientist. He worked at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (the Hospital) and was on a two week trial employment period.
10. During the trial period his employment was terminated and he was referred to the HCPC by the Trust.
11. The Registrant engaged with the HCPC and provided information regarding his health.
12. On 16 - 17 August 2016 a panel of the Health Committee considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his health. The panel decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired. The panel also decided that the appropriate and proportionate sanction to protect the public and meet the wider public interest was a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months.
13. The Suspension Order was reviewed on 15 August 2017. The limited information available to the panel suggested that there had been no improvement in the Registrant’s health. The panel therefore decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and that the appropriate and proportionate order was to extend the Suspension Order for twelve months.
14. Ms Wills submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and that it was appropriate and proportionate to extend the Suspension Order for a further period of 12 months.
15. In his correspondence with the HCPC and in his telephone call on 2 August 2018 the Registrant stated that he requests the Panel to continue his suspension for a further twelve months.
16. The Registrant has continued to engage with the HCPC. He submitted a CV, references, and a medical certificate confirming that he is unfit to work until 14 September 2018.
17. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
18. The Substantive Hearing Panel identified that there was an ongoing risk to the public. The previous Panel also concluded that a finding of current impairment was in the wider public interest.
19. The information provided to the Panel today about the Registrant’s current health indicates that the Registrant continues to be unwell.
20. The Panel therefore decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired today for the same reasons as the Substantive Hearing Panel.
21. The Panel next considered the appropriate sanction, applying the guidance in the HCPTS Indicative Sanctions Policy. The purpose of a sanction is not to punish the Registrant, though it may have that effect. The primary purpose of a sanction is to protect the public. The Panel should also give appropriate weight to the wider public interest, which includes the need to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process. The Panel applied the principle of proportionality, balancing the Registrant’s interest against the public interest.
22. The Panel considered the option of taking no further action or a Caution Order, but decided that this would not address the risks the Panel has identified and would not adequately protect the public.
23. The Panel next considered the option of a Conditions of Practice Order. There is no suggestion either by the Registrant or by his treating doctors that the Registrant is currently well enough to work or that conditions of practice are workable and appropriate at the current time. The Panel concluded that conditions of practice are not currently sufficient or appropriate.
24. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order and decided that this was appropriate and proportionate, given the nature of the Registrant’s current health position, and the current level of risk. The Panel considered the Registrant’s interests and decided that they were outweighed by the need to protect the public and the wider public interest.
25. The Panel considered the appropriate length of the Suspension Order and decided that twelve months was appropriate, as requested by both the HCPC and the Registrant.
26. The Panel therefore decided that the appropriate and proportionate Order was a Suspension Order for a further period of twelve months.
27. The Panel commended the Registrant on his engagement with the HCPC and the insight into his health condition he has demonstrated. The Panel also noted the Registrant’s commitment to the Biomedical Scientist profession. Since the last review there have been some positive developments, particularly the Registrant’s recent work in a voluntary capacity and the efforts the Registrant is making to manage his health condition.
28. The Suspension Order will be reviewed before it expires. A future review panel may be assisted by the following:
• references or testimonials from any work or voluntary activity undertaken by the Registrant;
• information on action the Registrant has taken to maintain his CPD and keep his professional knowledge and skills up to date.
The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Atridad S Saadat from the Register for a period of 12 months from the date of expiry of the current Order.
The order imposed today will apply from 14 September 2018.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 14 September 2019.