Mrs Claire S Connolly

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT22347

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 26/02/2018 End: 17:00 26/02/2018

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

Please note that the decision can take up to 5 working days to be uploaded onto the HCPTS website. Please contact one of our Hearings Team Managers via tsteam@hcpts-uk.org or +44 (0)808 164 3084 if you require any further information.

 

Allegation

While working as an occupational therapist with Stockport NHS Foundation Trust between 2009 and 21 October 2015, you:

1. Did not record notes in service user A's notes for the following dates:
a) 13 September 2012
b) 05 June 2012
c) 15 July 2014
d) 17 November 2014
e) 12 January 2015
f) 16 January 2015
g) 26 January 2015
h) 10 February 2015

2. Did not record notes in service user B's notes and / or make a record on the Lorenzo Record system for service user B for the following dates:
a) 17 July 2012
b) 17 October 2012
c) 18 April 2013
d) 05 June 2013
e) 12 February 2015
f) 11 March 2014
g) 25 March 2014


3. Did not record notes in service user B's notes in a timely manner for the following dates:
a) 20 June 2014
b) 2 July 2012
c) 07 November 2014
d) 26 January 2015
e) 10 February 2015


4. Did not make a record on the Lorenzo Record system in the case of service user C for the following dates:
a) 04 August 2014
b) 27 October 2014
c) 03 December 2012
d) 08 December 2014
e) 30 January 2015
f) 09 February 2015
g) 12 February 2015


5. Did not make a record on the Lorenzo Record system in the case of service user D for the following dates:
a) 10 January 2014
b) 28 February 2014


6. In relation to the case of C, you did not check and / or approve the chairs for the use of service user C for approximately 2 years.

7. Did not make a record on the Lorenzo Record system and / or the service user notes for:
a) Service user E between 22 February 2013 and 28 February 2015
b) service user F between 2011 and 28 February 2015
c) service user G between 20 September 2014 and 28 February 2015
d) service user H between 13 September 2013 and 28 February 2015
e) service user I between 20 November 2013 and 28 February 2015
g) service user J between 16 January 2014 and 28 February 2015
h) service user K between 18 January 2014 and 28 February 2015
i) service user L between 2010 and 28 February 2015
j) service user M between 23 January 2014 and 28 February 2015
k) service user N between 06 December 2014 and 28 February 2015
l) service user O between 18 July 2014 and 28 February 2015
m) service user P between 09 May 2011 and 10 February 2015
n) service user Q between 31 October 2014 and 28 February 2015
o) service user R between 23 January 2014 and 28 February 2015
p) service user S between 16 July 2014 and 28 February 2015
q) service user T
r) service user U
s) service user V
t) service user W between 10 June 2014 and 28 February 2015
u) service user X
v) service user Y between 08 July 2014 and 28 February 2015

8. Did not complete and/or record any contact with service user Z.

9.The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 8 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

10. By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness
to practise is impaired.

 

Finding

Service


1. The Panel was satisfied that the amended notice of hearing dated 24 January 2018 had been properly served by post to the Registrant’s registered address in accordance with rules 3(1)(a) and 6(1) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in absence

2. The amended notice of hearing was served in accordance with the Rules and it had also been sent by email. The Registrant’s UNISON representative responded to the original notice of hearing by an email dated 12 January 2018 in which it was stated that the Registrant would not be able to attend at any hearing in London over any extended period. There is no attendance today by the Registrant or her representative.

3. The Panel considered the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and considered the circumstances of this case. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor which included advice on the need to take into account the over-arching objective of the exercise of the HCPC’s powers, which is to protect the public as set out in the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, as amended.

4. The Panel exercised its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made to serve the notice of hearing, pursuant to rule 11 of the Rules. The Panel is aware that the discretion to proceed in absence is one which should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. The Registrant was aware of the date of today’s hearing when she signed a Voluntary Removal Agreement on the understanding that the hearing would take place today. It was clear from the correspondence that the matter would proceed by agreement and there had been no application for an adjournment. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant is aware of this hearing and expected it to take place in her absence and had decided of her own volition not to attend today or be represented.

The Decision 


5. The Registrant was the subject of an allegation to the effect that her fitness to practice was impaired by reason of misconduct and/or lack of competence in that between 2009 and October 2015 she repeatedly failed to record notes at all, or in a timely manner, either in the hard copy notes of 25 service users and/or in her Trust’s Lorenzo Record system, and failed to check or approve chairs for a service user for 2 years.

6. It is proposed that the allegation be withdrawn by the HCPC on the basis that the Registrant wished to be removed from the HCPC Register voluntarily. The Registrant has admitted the substance of the allegation and has undertaken not to practise as an Occupational Therapist or use any title associated with that profession. If the Registrant seeks to return to the HCPC Register at any time, despite agreeing not to seek re-admission, the application would be treated as if the Registrant had been struck off as a result of that allegation.

7. The Panel had to decide whether to grant the application to withdraw the allegation or to direct that the allegation be set down for a hearing. In making that decision, the Panel has taken into account the guidance given in the Council’s Practice Note, Disposal of Cases by Consent, March 2017. That states that:

• “A Panel should not agree to a case being resolved by consent unless it is satisfied that the appropriate level of public protection is being secured; and
• doing so would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.”

8. The Panel noted the policy of the HCPC, as set out in Annex A to that Practice Note, that disposal by consent will be considered by the HCPC:

• “after an Investigating Committee Panel has found that there is a ‘case to answer’, so that a proper assessment has been made of the nature, extent and viability of the allegation;


• where the registrant is willing to admit both the substance of the allegation and that his or her fitness to practise is impaired. A registrant should not be prevented from resolving a case by consent simply because he or she disputes a minor aspect of the allegation…”

9. In his submissions on behalf of the HCPC, Mr Mason submitted that the appropriate level of public protection is being secured by the VRA because the likely outcome of the allegation, if proved, would be either a Conditions of Practice Order or a Suspension Order. The VRA would therefore achieve a greater level of protection of the public. With regard to whether granting the application would not be detrimental to the public interest, Mr Mason submitted that the VRA would actually be in the public interest, because it would be cost effective as well as achieve removal of the Registrant from the register. It would be cost effective because the likely outcome of either a Conditions of Practice Order or a Suspension Order would mean that the case would enter the review cycle with the associated costs and hearing time in circumstances where the Registrant has no wish to ever practise again.

10. The Panel was of the view that there was clear evidence that the particulars of the allegation were capable of proof, and the substance of the allegation has been admitted by the Registrant in her email of 6 November 2017. In that email the Registrant also makes it clear that her personal circumstances, including her health issues which she set out in an email dated 21 December 2017 and attachments, mean that she is in no position to remediate her deficiencies and she will not again be seeking employment as an Occupational Therapist. The Registrant had maintained that admission in the VRA which she has voluntarily signed on 22 January 2018 and has agreed not to seek re-admission to the HCPC register. The Panel noted there was no actual service user harm and her clinical judgement was not an issue.The Panel concluded that the allegation, while serious, was not such that the public interest required a full hearing to uphold public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process

11. The Panel has determined to grant the application to withdraw the allegation on the basis that the Registrant has entered into the VRA dated 22 January 2018 and this will adequately protect the public and will not be detrimental to the public interest, for the reasons set out above.

 

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Claire S Connolly from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

If the Registrant seeks to return to the HCPC Register at any time the application would be treated as if the registrant had been struck off as a result of that allegation.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Claire S Connolly

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
26/02/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off