Mr Christopher J Turner

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA02601

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 12:30 01/03/2018 End: 14:30 01/03/2018

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Paramedic at South Western Ambulance Service:

1. On 6 May 2015, in relation to Service User A, you:

a. Did not carry out an adequate assessment on Service User A;

b. Did not complete and/or submit a patient care record (PCR) of the incident.

 

2. Between approximately 10 June and 15 September 2015, you did not complete and/or submit approximately 14 patient care records.

 

3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1-2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.


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

Finding

Preliminary matters:

1. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been served with notice of today’s hearing in accordance with the Rules.

2. Mr Aarish Pandya made an application for the Panel to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel was informed that the Registrant had not recently responded to communications sent by the HCPC to his current address on the register. He had not applied for an adjournment or provided any information as to why the hearing should be adjourned.

3. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel decided to proceed with the hearing in the Registrant’s absence for the following reasons:
• The circumstances indicated that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from today’s hearing: he had not attended the final hearing and had not engaged with the HCPC at the time of the substantive hearing or since;
• The Registrant had not applied for an adjournment or provided any information as to why the hearing should be adjourned. An adjournment was unlikely to result in his attendance at a future date;
• It was in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest that the review hearing should proceed expeditiously. It was a mandatory review and had to take place before the expiry of the current Suspension Order on 22 March 2018.


Background:

4. The Registrant commenced employment at South Western Ambulance Service [SWAS] NHS Foundation Trust as a Band 5 Paramedic in 1992. On 27 July 2015 the Trust received an incident report that was completed by a Senior Paediatric Consultant who had treated Service User A, who at the time of the incident was under 2 years old. The complaint outlined concerns raised by the mother of Service User A [Mother A] regarding the standard of care afforded to Service User A by the Registrant, who was the Paramedic sent to attend Service User A on 06 May 2015, following a 111 call made by Mother A.

5. It was alleged in the complaint that the Registrant did not carry out an adequate assessment of Service User A. Service User A was subsequently admitted to hospital later that evening. Service User A was treated for a number of days before being discharged.

6. The complaint was investigated. The investigation officer was unable to find the relevant Patient Care Record (PCR). Further investigation revealed that a number of PCRs, which should have been completed by the Registrant were missing. It was concluded that the Registrant did not complete these PCRs.

7. These concerns were reported by the Registrant’s employer to the HCPC, resulting in the current proceedings.

8. The Registrant did not attend, and was not represented at, the final hearing which took place on 20-22 February 2017. The Panel found  all the particulars of the allegation proved. The Panel determined that the proven facts amounted to misconduct and that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was currently impaired. The Panel considered that the Registrant had shown only limited insight in relation to his actions and the potential consequences of his failings. He had not shown an understanding as to how his assessment of Service User A had been deficient. Nor had he reflected on the impact on the child, the family or the wider implications of his failings. The Panel found no evidence of remediation. There had been a total denial by the Registrant of the facts set out in particulars 1b and 2.

9. By way of sanction the Panel imposed a Suspension Order for 12 months, having regard to the seriousness of the misconduct and the lack of remediation. The Panel advised the Registrant that a future review panel would be assisted by:

• the Registrant’s attendance;

• a reflective piece from the Registrant indicating:

(i) a recognition of his failings;
(ii) what he learned from these events;
(iii) his understanding of the impact of an inadequate assessment could have on the clinical condition of a child under 2 and on the reputation of the profession;
(iv) his understanding of the importance of completing and submitting PCRs, and the potential implications of failing to do so;

• evidence from the Registrant as to his plans for the future with regarding to practising as a Paramedic;
• evidence of the steps that he has taken to maintain his professional skills;
• evidence as to what the Registrant has been doing by way of work, whether paid or unpaid, since he left the employment of the Trust;
• testimonials from his employers and colleagues at work.

Decision:

10. The Panel was provided by the HCPC with a bundle containing the previous decision of the Panel at the final hearing.

11. There was no new information from the Registrant, who had not engaged with the HCPC since the last review hearing.

12. On behalf of the HCPC Mr Pandya submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.

13. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note on Impairment of Fitness to Practise and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

14. In light of the Registrant’s failure to engage with the HCPC since the final hearing, the Panel concluded that his fitness to practise remains impaired. In the absence of evidence as to remediation, there would be a risk of repetition of the Registrant’s misconduct with consequent risks to the public and professional colleagues. Public confidence in the profession and the Regulator would be undermined if the Panel were to find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is no longer impaired.

15. In deciding what sanction, if any, to impose, the Panel took into account the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy.

16. The Panel decided that it would not be appropriate to take no further action, given the seriousness of the Registrant’s past failings, the lack of remediation and the potential risk to the public.

17. A Caution Order would not be appropriate because it would not place any restriction on the Registrant’s ability to practise.

18. A Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate because the Registrant had not provided any information to indicate that he had reflected on his past failings or acquired any insight into the serious impact of his misconduct on the service users. He had not provided the Panel with any evidence of remediation or any information about his circumstances since the final hearing. He had not expressed any intention of returning to practise as a Paramedic. In these circumstances, a Conditions of Practice Order would not be workable.

19. The Panel considered whether to impose a further Suspension Order. A Suspension Order would protect the public and maintain public confidence in the profession and the Regulator. Whilst the Registrant had not used the currency of the existing Suspension Order to take  any of the steps recommended by the Panel at the final hearing to remediate his practice, the Panel took into account that the Registrant had a long and, what appeared to be, a previously unblemished career as a Paramedic. The Panel at the final hearing had considered that his failings were remediable.

20. In these circumstances, the Panel decided that the Registrant should be given a further opportunity to demonstrate that he had reflected on his misconduct, acquired insight and taken steps to remediate his practice. This was a finely balanced decision and the Registrant should be in no doubt that there will be a significant risk of a Striking Off Order at the next review if he fails to make use of this opportunity to address his failings and engage with the HCPC in these proceedings.

21. At the present time, the Panel considered that a Striking Off Order would be disproportionate.

22. The Panel therefore imposed a further Suspension Order for a period of six months to come into effect upon the expiry of the current Order.

23. The next review Panel is likely to be assisted by:

• the Registrant’s attendance;
• a reflective piece from the Registrant indicating:

(v) a recognition of his failings;

(vi) what he learned from these events;

(vii) his understanding of the impact of an inadequate assessment could have on the clinical condition of a child under 2 and on the reputation of the profession;

(viii) his understanding of the importance of complweting and submitting PCRs, and the potential implications of failing to do so;

• evidence from the Registrant as to his plans for the future with regarding to practising as a Paramedic;
• evidence of the steps that he has taken to maintain his professional skills;
• evidence as to what the Registrant has been doing by way of work, whether paid or unpaid, since he left the employment of the Trust;
• testimonials from his employers and colleagues at work.


 

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr   Christopher J Turner for a further period of 6 months to come into effect on the expiry of the existing Order.

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply from 22 March 2018

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Christopher J Turner

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
01/03/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
20/02/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended