Mrs Lynne Boradbent
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The Registrant’s fitness to practise as a Biomedical Scientist is impaired by reason of their health.
Hearing the proceedings in private
1. At the outset, Mr Mason 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 16 July 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. 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 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 Mr Mason 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 did not attend either the substantive hearing nor the first and second review hearings. 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 September 2018.
8. In reaching its decision, the Panel has taken account of the HCPTS Practice Note Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired. It has had regard to the submissions made by Mr Mason for the HCPC. It has received and accepted legal advice.
9. The Panel has taken into account all the information before it which largely consisted of the determinations of the substantive hearing panel and the first and second reviewing panels. It has received no further information about her current health from the Registrant.
10. The Panel, mindful of the fact that the purpose of a review hearing was to assess current fitness to practise, concluded that in the absence of any up to date information about the Registrant's health condition, there had been no change in circumstances since the last review hearing. As such, the Registrant remains a risk to patients and the Panel therefore decided that her fitness to practise remains impaired.
11. There was no information before it to conclude otherwise.
12. With regard to the wider public interest, the Panel is satisfied that confidence in the BMS profession would be undermined if no such finding were made today. A reasonable person, aware that there was no independent proof that the Registrant had addressed her health condition, would expect a finding of impairment to be made so that patients were not put at risk and proper professional standards are upheld.
13. In these circumstances, the Panel has determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
14. The Panel then considered what the appropriate and proportionate sanction was in this case. It was referred to and took account of the HCPTS Indicative Sanctions Policy and received and accepted legal advice.
15. The Panel considered its powers under Article 30 (1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 and the available sanctions in ascending order of seriousness. It had in mind that the purpose of a sanction was not to punish the Registrant but to protect the public. It decided the sanctions of no order, mediation and a Caution Order were wholly inappropriate in this case. All of those orders would result in the Registrant being able to resume unrestricted practice, and none of them would provide any, or any adequate protection for patients, or address the wider public interest concerns.
16. The Panel also took the view that a Conditions of Practice Order was not appropriate in this case. There was no evidence that the Registrant had developed any insight into her health condition, or that she has sought to remedy it. Although there were no competency concerns about the Registrant's work over and above those relating to her health condition, she has not worked as a BMS since her dismissal in February 2013, over 5 years ago. The Panel has no information to show that the Registrant has kept her skills and knowledge sufficiently up to date. The Panel noted the Registrant's lack of engagement with this regulatory process since late 2014. The Panel is firmly of the view that it has no confidence that the Registrant would comply with any conditions that it might impose.
17. The Panel next considered whether a further period of suspension would adequately protect the public. The Panel concluded that it would not. The Registrant has been suspended since 24 May 2016, She has not engaged. The Panel concluded that a suspension order would serve no purpose and would not adequately protect the public or the wider public interest.
18. The Panel noted that in its decision the previous reviewing Panel in imposing a further suspension for 4 months stated that it would, “almost certainly be a final opportunity to engage with the process and demonstrate that she is addressing her health condition, before a panel will have the option to strike her off the Register”.
19. That Panel also set out that the following might assist the next reviewing Panel:
• evidence of what treatment and support she has been receiving for her health condition over the last two years;
• evidence that she had kept her skills and knowledge up to date during the period she has not been working as a BMS, including proof of any CPD activity.
20. This Panel has been provided with none of the above. The Panel had at the forefront of its mind that a striking off order should only be imposed where no other sanction could adequately protect the public. The Panel was satisfied that that stage had been reached in the Registrant’s case.
21. Taking all matters into consideration, the Panel concluded that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was a striking off order.
The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Lynne Broadbent from the Register upon the expiry of the current order of Suspension (namely 24 September 2018).
No notes available