Dr Elise Rivlin
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Your fitness to practise as a Practitioner Psychologist is impaired by reason of your health.
Hearing in private
1. At the outset, Ms Dudrah for the HCPC applied for the whole of the review hearing to be in held in private on grounds that this was necessary to protect and safeguard the privacy of the Registrant as matters of her health would be raised. The Registrant supported the application.
2. The Panel was referred to and followed the guidance set out in the HCPTS Practice Note on “Conducting Hearings in Private”. It also received and accepted legal advice.
3. The Panel decided that, given the nature and sensitivity of the material it would be considering and to safeguard the Registrant’s privacy, it was appropriate for the whole of this review hearing concerning the Registrant’s health to be heard in private.
4. The Registrant is a Practitioner Psychologist. On 8 May 2015, the Registrant was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital (the Hospital). The Registrant remained in hospital for four days.
5. On 12 May 2015, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) notified the HCPC of the Registrant’s admission to the Hospital and that an initial diagnosis was the Registrant was suffering from a medical condition.
6. In July 2015, the Registrant was assessed by a consultant and formally diagnosed with a medical condition.
7. In reaching its decision, the Panel has taken account of the HCPTS Practice Note “Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired”. It has had regard to the submissions made by Ms Dudrah for the HCPC and to the information provided by the Registrant and Professor Wang. It has received and accepted legal advice.
8. The Panel has taken into account of all the information before it. There was no up to date independent medical information as to the current state of the Registrant’s health condition. However the Panel was informed by Professor Wang that there had been no improvement in the Registrant’s health.
9. The Panel, mindful of the fact that the purpose of a review hearing is to assess current fitness to practise, it was unlikely that there would have been any improvement in the Registrant’s health condition since the substantive hearing. On the information before it, this is clearly the case here. As such, the Registrant remains a risk to service users and the Panel therefore decided that her fitness to practise remains impaired. There was no information before it to conclude otherwise.
10. With regard to the wider public interest, the Panel is satisfied that confidence in the Practitioner Psychologist profession would be undermined if no such finding were made today. A reasonable and informed person aware of the nature of the medical condition, would expect a finding of impairment to be made so that service user were not put at risk and proper professional standards are upheld. The Panel was also satisfied that public confidence in both the profession and its regulatory body would only be maintained by making such a finding. The Panel also considered that it is in the interests of the Registrant to make such a finding.
11. In these circumstances, the Panel has determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired.
12. The Panel then considered what the appropriate and proportionate sanction was in this case. It has received and accepted legal advice and has taken into account the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy.
13. The Panel considered its powers under Article 30 (1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (the 2001 Order) and the available sanctions in ascending order of seriousness. It had in mind that the purpose of a sanction was not to punish the Registrant but to protect the public. It decided that to impose no order or a Caution Order was wholly inappropriate in this case as each would result in the Registrant being able to resume unrestricted practice and neither would provide any protection for service users, or address the wider public interest concerns.
14. The Panel also concurred with the view of the substantive panel that a Conditions of Practice Order was not appropriate in this case. The Registrant was formerly operating as a sole practitioner, and the Panel took the view that it was unable to devise any conditions that would be workable and appropriate which would also provide the necessary degree of protection for service users.
15. The Panel then turned to consider a Suspension Order. It was referred to and took account of the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy paragraph 39 which states
“Suspension should be considered where the Panel considers that a caution or conditions of practice order would provide insufficient public protection…”.
16. As the Panel has concluded that neither of those orders would provide sufficient public protection, the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case is to extend the current suspension order for a further period of 12 months. The Panel has also decided to exercise its discretion under Article 29 (7) (b) of the 2001 Order to restrict the Registrant’s right to an early review. She may not apply for an early review for a period of 10 months. The reason for this is that given the health condition from which the Registrant suffers, it is unlikely that that there will be any sufficient improvement in the future. By exercising its discretion, the Panel considered that it would relieve the Registrant of any anxiety or distress which an early review would involve.
17. The Panel was grateful to the Registrant for attending today’s hearing, and considered that it might assist the next reviewing panel if it could be provided with a report from the Registrant’s treating doctor setting out the current state of her health condition.
Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Dr Elise Rivlin for a further period of 12 months on the expiry of the existing order with no review before the expiration of 10 months.
The order imposed today will apply from 2 July 2018.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 1 June 2019.