Ms Rachel Thompson
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Proof of Service
1. The Panel was provided with a signed certificate as proof that the Notice of Hearing had been posted on 19 September 2017 by First Class post, to the address shown for the Registrant on the HCPC register. The Notice was also sent to the Registrant by email on the same date. The Panel was satisfied that Notice had been properly served in accordance with Rule 3 (Proof of Service) and Rule 6 (date, time and venue) of the Conduct & Competence Committee Rules 2003 (as amended).
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
2. Having determined that service of the Notice of Hearing had been properly effected, the Panel went on to consider whether to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel was advised by the Legal Assessor and followed that advice. The Panel also took into account the guidance as set out in the HCPC Practice Note “Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant”.
3. The Panel determined that it was fair, reasonable and in the public interest to proceed in the Registrant’s absence for the following reasons:
a) The Registrant has only engaged indirectly with the regulatory process through her representative, KT, who is her mother. In advance of the hearing KT made an application for the hearing to be adjourned on the basis that she had not received the hearing bundle by email until 14 February 2018. The Chair considered the application and refused to grant the request for an adjournment. The reasons for refusal included: (i) the hearing bundle had originally been served in accordance with the Standard Directions by email on 19 January 2018, (ii) there was insufficient evidence that any prejudice would be caused to the Registrant, even had the Registrant’s representative only received the bundle 12 days before the hearing, (iii) there is a public interest in proceeding with the hearing expeditiously. In response to the Chair’s decision, KT sent an email to the HCPC dated 23 February 2018. The Panel was provided with a copy of the email which stated, ‘As I have previously attempted to explain to the HCPC over the last couple of years, Miss Rachael Thompson has NO intention of returning to work as physiotherapist in any form or in any country.’ In these circumstances the Panel was satisfied that it was reasonable to conclude that the Registrant’s non-attendance was voluntary and therefore a deliberate waiver of her right to attend.
b) The application to adjourn was not renewed and there was no indication from the Registrant, or indirectly via KT, that she would be willing or able to attend on an alternative date and therefore re-listing this substantive hearing would serve no useful purpose.
c) The HCPC has made arrangements for two witnesses to give evidence during this hearing. In the absence of any reason to re-schedule the hearing the Panel was satisfied that the witnesses should not be inconvenienced by an unnecessary delay and should give evidence whilst the events are reasonably fresh in their minds.
d) The Panel recognised that there may be a disadvantage to the Registrant in not being able to respond to the HCPC’s case. However, she was given the opportunity to participate in these proceedings in person or by submitting written representations and has not done so. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that any disadvantage to the Registrant was outweighed by the strong public interest in ensuring that the substantive hearing is commenced and considered expeditiously.
Private Hearing Application
4. Ms Manning-Rees made an application for the hearing to be conducted in private under Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health Committee (Procedure Rules) 2003 which states:
‘the proceedings shall be held in public unless the Committee is satisfied that, in the interests of justice or for the protection of the private life of the registrant…the public should be excluded from all or part of the hearing;’.
5. The Panel determined that as the hearing solely relates to the Registrant’s health the entire hearing should be conducted in private to protect her right to a private life. The Panel also determined that details of the Registrant’s health should not form part of the public record.
No notes available