Mr Andrew R Mitchell
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By reason of your physical and/or mental health, your fitness to practise as a Biomedical Scientist is impaired
1. The Panel has today been convened to decide on an application made jointly by the HCPC and the Registrant, Mr Andrew Mitchell that the latter should be permitted to remove his name from the HCPC register.
2. The Registrant did not attend the hearing, but he was represented by Ms Osborne. The fact that the Registrant was represented meant that it was not necessary for the Panel to consider whether it was appropriate to direct that the hearing should proceed in the Registrant’s absence. Ms Osborne confirmed that the Registrant did not wish to attend.
3. Before considering the substance of the application the Panel determined that the hearing should be conducted in private. This direction was made because the HCPC’s allegation against the Registrant is that his fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his health, and it would not be possible to have a full examination of the issues relating to the application without compromising the Registrant’s right to confidentiality concerning his health. For the same reason, this written determination should be treated as private.
4. The Panel has approached this application on the basis that, notwithstanding the position of both the HCPC and the Registrant that the removal sought should be permitted, it is still necessary for the Panel to exercise its independent judgment as to whether it should be. To make this judgment the Panel has had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note entitled, “Disposal of Cases by Consent”. Having done so, the Panel has concluded that there are three matters as to which it should be satisfied, namely:
• That the Registrant has expressed a desire for his name to be removed from the HCPC register.
• That the Registrant acknowledges the findings made against him, this admission being necessary so any future application by him for re-registration can be decided in the light of that admission.
• Finally, but very importantly, that there are no public interest considerations which should lead the Panel to refuse the removal of the Registrant’s name from the HCPC register by means of this expedited procedure.
5. Before turning to explain the Panel’s decisions on these points, it is necessary to describe briefly the background to the HCPC’s proceedings against the Registrant and the findings made against him at the substantive hearing.
6. The Registrant was employed as a Biomedical Scientist by NHS Lothian. On 6 January 2017 a referral was made to the HCPC on behalf of NHS Lothian.
7. Subsequently, the HCPC obtained a significant amount of information from NHS Lothian, including occupational health reports extending over a considerable period of time.
8. In due course a panel of the Investigating Committee was asked to consider whether there was a “case to answer” in relation to an allegation. On 6 April 2018 it was determined that there was a case to answer.
9. Turning to three matters that the Panel earlier described as being those it was necessary to consider, the Panel is satisfied that:
• The terms of the Voluntary Removal Agreement dated 9 November 2018 and executed by the Registrant demonstrate a clear request for his name to be removed from the register. The terms of that Agreement accord with the long-expressed wish of the Registrant, communicated by his Solicitors, that his name should be removed from the HCPC Register.
• The Agreement contains a clear admission of the allegation by the Registrant. Accordingly, were the Registrant to be apply for re-registration with the HCPC, the Education and Training Committee would be able to consider that admission when deciding whether to accede to the application.
• So far as the crucial issue of the public interest is concerned, the Panel is satisfied that there are no reasons why effect should not be given to the Voluntary Removal Agreement. In particular:
o In the present case the public interest would not be compromised as a result of a final hearing not taking place, not least because, if such a hearing did occur, the health matters it would be considering would dictate that it would be held in private.
o There could be no greater protection of the public provided by the matter proceeding to a final hearing. Acceding to the present application will result in the Registrant being no longer registered, an outcome that would not be available were the matter to proceed to a final hearing where the most restrictive sanction available would be suspension of registration.
o In circumstances in which the Registrant has stated that he does not wish to return to practise as a Biomedical Scientist, the public interest would not be served by compelling him to remain registered with the HCPC.
o The public interest would be properly protected in the event of the Registrant changing his mind as to his future career intentions because the admission of the allegation made against him would enable that admission to be considered in the event of him seeking re-admission to the Register, and that consideration would be undertaken as if he had been struck off.
10. The consequence of these findings is that the Panel agrees to the voluntary removal application and the Panel Chair will sign the Consent Order permitting effect to be given to the Voluntary Removal Agreement.
The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Mr Andrew R Mitchell from the Register with immediate effect.
History of Hearings for Mr Andrew R Mitchell
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|14/11/2018||Health Committee||Final Hearing||Voluntary Removal agreed|