Mr Mattew Chambers

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH91567

Interim Order: Imposed on 21 Jan 2014

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 09:00 29/03/2018 End: 12:00 29/03/2018

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

(as found proved at the substantive hearing)

During your employment as a Physiotherapist for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust:

1. On 4 December 2012, in relation to Patient A, you failed to provide adequate post-operative treatment in that you:

a) Did not explain the expected aims of the proposed physiotherapy treatment to the patient.

b) Did not teach the patient:

i. a supported cough.

ii. thoracic expansion exercises with 2-3 second breath hold.

iii. toes and/or ankles and/or quads exercises.

c) NOT PROVED

2. On or around 17 January 2013, you:

a) In relation to Patient B, you:

i. did not recognise that the patient was desaturating and needed urgent assistance;

ii. did not notice that the pulse oximeter probe had come off the patient's finger;

iii. NOT PROVED

b) You provided an inaccurate review of Patient C in that you stated that they had been ventilated on the HOBS bay when this was not the case.

3. On or around 22 January 2013, in relation to Patient D you:

a) Performed or attempted to perform an unsafe transfer in that you:

i. Failed to risk assess the patient’s environment sufficiently prior to moving her.

ii. Did not reposition the patient’s fluid lines prior to moving her.

iii. Did not remove the patient’s flowtron boots prior to moving her.

iv. Instructed her to put her hands on your shoulders when she was unable to maintain her own sitting balance.

b) NOT PROVED

4. NOT PROVED

5. On 28 January 2013, in relation to Patient F you:

a) Did not know if the patient was pre or post op.

b) Failed to conduct an adequate assessment in that you did not perform a respiratory check, including auscultation;

c) Did not give the patient any advice regarding breathing exercises and/or coughing.

d) Failed to adequately risk assess the patient prior to attempting to move him in that you:

i. Did not check his drain sites;

ii. Did not asses his lower limb power;

iii. Did not assess his active toe and/or ankle and/or static quad contraction.

6. On 30 January 2013 you failed to manage a clinical situation in that you asked Patient G, who had failed a stairs assessment, to attempt a stairs assessment on 7 further occasions.

7. On or around 30 January 2013, in relation to Patient H, you:

a) Planned to discharge her home in unsafe circumstances in that she had no equipment in situ at home;

b) Failed to maintain accurate records in that you documented that you had observed her mobilising independently on the ward with a 4 wheeled walker when this was not the case.

8. On 18 March 2013, in relation to Patient I, you failed to conduct a safe stairs assessment in that you:

a) Did not check the patient’s oxygen saturation levels prior to commencing the assessment;

b) Did not have a wheelchair prepared for the patient to use if required.

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

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service of Notice

1. The Notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant at his address as it appeared in the HCPC Register on 1 March 2018. The Notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.

2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, and is satisfied that Notice of today’s hearing has been served in accordance with Rule 6(1) of the Conduct and Competence Committee Rules 2003 (the “Rules”).

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

3. The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules. In doing so, it considered the submissions of Mr Waren on behalf of the HCPC.

4. Mr Waren submitted that the HCPC has taken all reasonable steps to serve the Notice on the Registrant. He further submitted that the Registrant has engaged with the HCPC and that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose in the light of the correspondence from the Registrant and the purpose of this hearing. He reminded the Panel that there was a public interest in this matter being dealt with expeditiously.

5. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that, if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel had the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.

6. The Legal Assessor also referred the Panel to the case of GMC v Adeogba and Visvardis [2016] EWCA Civ 162 and advised that the Adeogba case reminded the Panel that its primary objective is the protection of the public and of the public interest. In that regard, the case of Adeogba was clear that, “where there is good reason not to proceed, the case should be adjourned; where there is not, however, it is only right that it should proceed”.

7. It was clear, from the principles derived from case law, that the Panel was required to ensure that fairness and justice were maintained when deciding whether or not to proceed in a Registrant’s absence.

8. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPC to notify the Registrant of the hearing, as the Registrant was aware of this hearing. He has indicated that he would not be attending this hearing and that no disrespect is intended.

9. In reaching its decision, the Panel took into account the following:

• The Registrant has not made an application to adjourn today’s hearing and implicit in the email of 27 March 2018 from his representative is an expectation that this hearing proceed in his absence;

• The Registrant has engaged with the process and has entered into a Voluntary Removal Agreement with the HCPC;

• There is a public interest that this matter proceeds expeditiously.

10. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from the hearing. There is a distinction between a case where the Registrant is clearly aware of the hearing and one where there has been no response from the Registrant. In the light of the information before the Panel, an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. Having weighed the public interest for expedition in cases against the Registrant’s own interest, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Background

11. The Registrant commenced employment in July 2009 in a Band 5 Rotational Physiotherapy post at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby. He was then newly qualified. Between July 2009 and January 2010, he completed his first rotation in Adult Learning Disabilities.

12. In September 2012, the Registrant transferred to Scunthorpe General Hospital (the Hospital) in order to complete his achievement of the necessary Band 5 competencies. LL was appointed as his supervisor. The Registrant worked at the Hospital from September 2012 to March 2013. After March 2013, the Registrant was signed off sick and did not return prior to 29 May 2013, when he tendered his resignation.

13. Whilst working at the Hospital, the Registrant was responsible for acutely unwell medical patients, the majority of whom had primary respiratory problems.

14. From December 2012 to March 2013, various concerns were raised in relation to the Registrant’s practice: many of those concerns were identified by LL. Prior to December 2012, the Registrant’s placement at the hospital had not given rise to any serious concerns. On 29 January 2013, the Registrant was placed on an Informal Performance Plan, which was drafted by the Physiotherapy Manager, PB. In March 2013, the Registrant’s rotation at the Hospital was extended. The reason given for that extension was that the Registrant had not demonstrated sufficient competency.

15. The facts that gave rise to the concerns surrounding the Registrant’s conduct as a Physiotherapist were observed by several of his colleagues.

16. The panel at the substantive hearing found that the facts found proved amounted to the statutory ground of Lack of Competence on the part of the Registrant. On 27 March 2015, that panel imposed a Conditions of Practice Order for a period of 18 months as a sanction.

17. The Conditions of Practice Order was reviewed on 22 September 2016. On that occasion the panel was told that the Registrant had not been able to obtain employment as a Physiotherapist and accepted that, as a consequence, he was unable to demonstrate that his fitness to practise was no longer impaired. The reviewing panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and extended the Conditions of Practice Order for a further period of 18 months.

Decision

18. The Panel considered the submissions of Mr Waren on behalf of the HCPC. He outlined the background to the allegations and the outcome of the Substantive Hearing in 2015. He submitted that, following representations from the Registrant and a full review of the case, a Voluntary Removal Agreement was the appropriate method of finalising this case. The HCPC was satisfied that the Registrant fully understood the effect of the Voluntary Removal Agreement and that granting the application would not compromise the protection of the public or have any detrimental effect on the wider public interest. It did not consider that this was a case that only a Striking Off Order would suffice to protect the public and the public interest.

19. The Panel had sight of correspondence from the Registrant from which it is clear that he no longer wishes to practise as a Physiotherapist and has no intention of applying for restoration to the HCPC Register as a Physiotherapist in the future. The Registrant indicated that he had not been practising as a Physiotherapist since 2013, and that he was now employed in a different role.

20. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

21. The Panel considered all of the information and representations by Mr Waren. The Panel has applied its own judgement to the application and also had regard to the HCPTS’s Practice Note on “Disposal of Cases by Consent”. and has accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor in this regard.

22. The Panel noted that the HCPC is satisfied that it would be meeting its statutory objective of protecting the public and of the public interest if the Registrant was permitted to be removed from the Register on similar terms to those which would apply if he were subject to a Striking Off Order under Article 29(5) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

23. The Panel had before it a Voluntary Removal Agreement that had been agreed between the HCPC and the Registrant and signed and executed by both parties. The Registrant also signed a Declaration that there was no other matter of which the Registrant was aware which might give rise to any other allegation.

24. The Panel firstly considered whether there were any factors that would make it undesirable to allow this matter to be concluded on the consensual basis set out in the Voluntary Removal Agreement. The Panel has concluded that, given the nature of the allegation, there are no overriding public interest factors that would require this matter to conclude by way of striking the Registrant’s name from the HCPC Register.

25. The Panel is aware that if the Registrant seeks to return to the HCPC Register at any time in the future, his application would be treated as if he had been struck off as a result of the allegation.

26. In all the circumstances, the Panel is satisfied that both the public and the public interest would be adequately protected by the terms of the agreement reached between the Registrant and the HCPC, in as much as the Registrant will henceforth be prevented from practising as a Physiotherapist and, should he wish to apply to return to the Register, he will be treated as though he had been struck off.

27. Furthermore, the Panel is satisfied that this method of finalising this case is appropriate and proportionate and is jointly in the interest of the public, the HCPC and the Registrant. Accordingly, the Panel approves the Voluntary Removal Agreement.

28. The Panel is also satisfied that the public interest has been satisfied, in that the Registrant has been held to account and that proper standards of practice and behaviour have been declared.

29. In light of the Panel’s determination in relation to the Voluntary Removal Agreement, it is exercising its power to review the Order under Article 30(2) and 30(4) and revokes the current Conditions of Practice Order with immediate effect.

Order

The Panel directs that the Conditions of Practice Order (the Existing Order) be revoked and approves the VRA on the basis that the Registrar will remove the name of Mr Matthew Chambers from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Mattew Chambers

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
29/03/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed
22/09/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
24/03/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice