Miss Nichola Taylor
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The following allegation was considered by a Panel of the Health Committee at a Substantive Hearing on 8 to 11 June 2015:
Your fitness to practise as a Social Worker is impaired by reason of your physical and / or mental health, as described in Schedule A.
Service of Notice
1. The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant at her address as it appeared in the register on 17 October 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 Health Committee Rules 2003 (the “Rules”).
Proceeding in private
3. The Panel heard that matters relating to the Registrant’s health were to be discussed as part of this application. Mr Mason submitted that it was appropriate that the entire hearing be held in private as the Registrant’s health was intrinsically linked to the issues in this case. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and it noted Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Health Committee) Procedure Rules 2003 (“Procedural Rules”) whereby matters pertaining to the private life of the Registrant, the complainant, any person giving evidence or of any Patient or Client should be heard in private. The Panel agreed the entire hearing should be in private as the Registrant’s health is the subject of these proceedings.
4. As such, this is the redacted copy of the decision.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant and application to adjourn this review
5. The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules. It determined to consider the application of the Registrant to adjourn these matters, as the primary issue will be the same in both instances. In doing so, it considered the submissions of Mr Mason on behalf of the HCPC, and the written submissions of the Registrant.
6. Mr Mason submitted that the HCPC has taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant. Mr Mason further submitted that it was clear that the Registrant was aware of this hearing as she has written to the HCPC regarding this hearing. Mr Mason submitted that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. Mr Mason reminded the Panel that there was a public interest in this matter being dealt with expeditiously, and that this order was due to expire on 22 December 2018.
7. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. In relation to consideration as to whether or not to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, he advised the Panel that it could be satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing because the Registrant has received the notice of hearing and has written a letter stating that she could not attend “due to travelling costs”.
8. In relation to the application to adjourn these matters, the Legal Assessor advised the Panel that it apply the principles of fairness and proportionality, and that the Panel was entitled to take into account all the circumstances in the case today.
9. 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.
10. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPC to notify the Registrant of the hearing. It was also satisfied that the Registrant was aware of the hearing.
11. The Panel weighed its responsibility for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to a fair hearing.
12. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the following:
• The Registrant has engaged with the process and continues to do so;
• The Registrant’s reason for not attending the hearing today was due to travelling costs and not to any other impediment;
• There is a public interest that this substantive order is reviewed before it expires on 22 December 2018;
• There is no information from the Registrant that she would attend at a later date if the Panel did not proceed in her absence today.
13. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing. There is a distinction between a case where the Registrant is clearly aware of the hearing date, and one where there has been no response from the Registrant. It determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance at a later date. 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.
14. The Panel then considered whether or not it would be appropriate to adjourn these matters in order for the HCPC to obtain medical reports, as was required by condition 5 of the current order. The Panel determined that it would not be appropriate to do so in the circumstances. This was because there was little or no chance of the HCPC being able to attain those medical reports and listing a new date for review of this order before 22 December 2018. The Panel was very aware that this order must be reviewed before that date.
15. Therefore the Panel determined that these matters should proceed today.
The Registrar is directed to extend the Conditions of Practice Order against the registration of Miss Nichola Taylor, as varied below, for a further period of 3 months upon the expiry of the existing order.
1. You must inform the HCPC if you take up employment as a Social Worker.
2. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a Senior Social Worker registered with the HCPC and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of commencing employment as a Social Worker.
3. In the event of taking up work as a Social Worker, you must obtain a quarterly report from your supervisor about your ability to practise safely and effectively. These reports must be submitted to the HCPC for consideration by a future reviewing Panel.
4. You must provide a report from your current employer which attests to your performance in your current role as a care assistant. This report should include what your current duties are, how you manage your duties, and your ability to perform your role effectively.
5. You must cease practising immediately if advised to do so by your GP or Consultant.
6. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:
a) any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work as a Social Worker;
b) any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with as a Social Worker (at the time of application);
c) any prospective employer seeking to employ you as a Social Worker (at the time of application).
The Order imposed today will apply from 22 December 2018
This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 22 March 2019.
History of Hearings for Miss Nichola Taylor
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|15/03/2019||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Hearing has not yet been held|
|14/02/2019||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Adjourned|
|19/11/2018||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Conditions of Practice|
|30/11/2017||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Conditions of Practice|
|22/12/2016||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Conditions of Practice|
|22/06/2016||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|08/06/2015||Health Committee||Final Hearing||Suspended|