Miss Fiona E Morrison
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Whilst Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Operating Department Practitioner:
1. On 7 April 2014, at Glasgow Sheriff Court, you were convicted of driving a motor vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in your breath was 109 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath which exceeded the prescribed limit, namely 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; Contrary to the Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 5 (1)(a).
2. During your employment by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, you attended work smelling of alcohol and /or under the influence of alcohol on:
a) 23 December 2014; and/or
b) 24 August 2015.
3. Your actions described in paragraph 2 amount to misconduct.
4. By reason of your conviction described in paragraph 1 and/or your
misconduct described in paragraphs 2 - 3, your fitness to practise is impaired.
Service of notice of hearing
1. The Panel noted there was a technical breach of the requirement to specify the address of the hearing as only the city of the hearing appeared in the notice served on 8 February 2018. This was remedied in the subsequent notice sent on 12 February 2018 and the Panel was satisfied there was no prejudice to the Registrant.
2. The Panel was satisfied in these circumstances that notice of today’s hearing complied with the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the Rules).
Proceeding in absence
3. Ms Dudrah for the HCPC applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. She submitted that this is a mandatory review and the Order must be reviewed prior to its expiry on 14 April 2018.
4. The Panel received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that the Panel’s discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence should only be exercised with the utmost care and caution. In reaching its decision the Panel noted the history of this case and the lack of any request for an adjournment by the Registrant. It noted that the Registrant had not attended the substantive hearing in March 2017 nor engaged with these proceedings. Having given careful consideration to the Registrant’s interests, and the factors cited above, including public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case, the Panel decided that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from today’s hearing and would be unlikely to attend at a future date if the hearing were to be adjourned. The Panel decided that it was in the interests of justice to proceed with the review hearing in the absence of the Registrant.
Proceeding in Private
5. Ms Dudrah made an application under Rule 10(1)(a) of the Rules for parts of the hearing to be heard in private where any aspects relating to the Registrant’s personal or private life are referred to.
6. The Panel received advice from the Legal Assessor. The Panel considered the submission made by Ms Dudrah and determined in the exercise of its discretion that the hearing should proceed in public except where the submissions related to health matters or private life, which would be heard in private.
7. At the material time the Registrant was an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) at NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.
8. On 7 April 2014, at Glasgow Sheriff Court, the Registrant was convicted of driving a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol which caused the proportion of it in her breath to measure 109 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The prescribed limit, as specified in the Road Traffic Act 1988 at that time, was 35 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath.
9. On 20 December 2014, a Theatre Staff Nurse was working with the Registrant completing their usual duties. She noticed that the Registrant was “acting erratically”. There was a smell of alcohol on the Registrant’s breath and when she spoke, she slurred her speech and was incoherent. The Registrant admitted that she had been drinking alcohol.
10. On 24 August 2015, the Senior Charge Nurse, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was holding a staff meeting in her office. The Registrant entered the department. The Senior Charge Nurse noticed that the Registrant was staggering and “hit the walls” a couple of times. Two other members of staff observed that the Registrant smelled of alcohol and although she denied being under the influence of alcohol, this was found proved.
11. Ms Dudrah referred the Panel to the background of the case including a summary of the circumstances which led to the imposition of the Suspension Order. Ms Dudrah advised the Panel that the Registrant had failed to engage with the HCPC. Ms Dudrah advised that it was a matter for the Panel to determine if the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and if so, what sanction should be imposed. Ms Dudrah submitted that the HCPC was of the view that the Registrant remains impaired and that whilst the Suspension Order could be extended, the appropriate sanction was a Striking Off Order. She submitted that no public interest would be served by extending the Suspension Order as the Registrant had not engaged at all and the misconduct occurred in 2014/2015. The Registrant had had ample time to demonstrate insight and remediation but had not.
12. The task of the Panel today is not to go behind the decision of the previous panel but to determine whether or not the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired and consequently, what, if any, order should be made when the current order expires. The Panel considered the submissions of Ms Dudrah and the absence of any evidence of remediation. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The original panel found that the Registrant had only displayed a limited degree of insight. Ms Dudrah submitted a summary of the personal difficulties which had adversely affected the Registrant. The original panel provided guidance to the Registrant as to what might be of assistance at a subsequent review hearing. The Registrant has failed to engage with the proceedings and there has been no response to a recent email from the HCPC dated 5 March 2018 and a telephone call to the Registrant.
13. This Panel noted that at the substantive hearing on 7 March 2017 when the Suspension Order was imposed for a period of twelve months, that panel indicated to the Registrant that it would assist the panel reviewing this suspension before the end of the twelve month period to see evidence that the Registrant is engaging with the process; and the following information:
• The Registrant’s attendance at any review hearing. This would allow her to give evidence in person if she chose to do so.
• Reports or reviews from specialists treating the Registrant for alcohol awareness or alcohol misuse, or from any courses or rehabilitative programmes she is, or has been attending.
• Medical evidence regarding the Registrant’s use of alcohol currently and since the events of the allegation.
• Information about any work she has undertaken, paid or voluntary, since the events forming the subject of these proceedings.
• Evidence as to how the Registrant now perceives her actions and their impact, for example a reflective statement demonstrating the Registrant’s insight into the events, the risks to service users by her conduct and how the Registrant proposes to avoid the repetition of such conduct in the future.
• Information on how she is keeping her practice up-to-date through CPD courses or other relevant training.
14. The Registrant has not engaged throughout this process. This Panel therefore has no evidence that the Registrant has developed insight or remediated her failings. The Panel has concluded that there is an ongoing risk of repetition and that her fitness to practise remains impaired. It has therefore decided that an order remains necessary.
15. The Panel next considered the sanctions available to it in ascending order of severity. The Panel is aware that the primary function of a sanction is to protect the public from any risk the Registrant may pose to those using or needing her services in the future. The sanction must be proportionate to the risk posed. The Panel must also give appropriate weight to the wider public interest which includes the deterrent effect on other registrants, the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the regulatory process.
16. The Panel considered that to impose a Caution Order would not be sufficient to address the wider public interest considerations or to protect the public, in the absence of any evidence that the Registrant has addressed the matters which brought her before the HCPC and given the risk of repetition identified. The Panel also considered that a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate in circumstances where the Registrant has not maintained any contact with the profession nor maintained any skills, or provided any information about her current circumstances.
17. The Panel next considered extending the current Suspension Order. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant presents a real risk to service users and colleagues. The Registrant has failed to demonstrate any insight into her alcohol misuse and its impact on colleagues, service users and the public.
18. Given the length of time since the original misconduct and the repeated nature of that misconduct, the Panel concluded that there is an unwillingness or inability to remedy her failings and to engage with her regulator.
19. In the circumstances, no useful purpose would be served by extending the existing Suspension Order.
20. In the circumstances, the Panel decided that the only appropriate sanction was to impose a Striking Off Order which will come into effect on the expiry of the current Suspension Order.
History of Hearings for Miss Fiona E Morrison
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|08/03/2018||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|