Mr Jamie S Broadbent
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Whilst registered as an Operating Department Practitioner you were convicted on 29 January 2016 at Teeside Magistrates Court of:
1. On 28 August 2015 at Stockton-On-Tees had in your possession a quantity of cocaine a controlled drug of Class A in contravention of section 5(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 contrary to section 5(2) of and schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
2. That between 8 September 2014 and 28 August 2015 at Stockton-On-Tees you stole midazolam, diazepam, ketamine and associated medical equipment, of a value unknown belonging to North Tees Hospital contrary to Section 1(1) and 7 of the Theft Act 1968.
3. By reason of your convictions your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant at his address as it appeared in the register. 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”).
3. The Registrant is an HCPC registered Operating Department Practitioner (ODP). He was convicted of offences of possession of a Class A controlled drug and theft on 29 January 2016 following pleas of guilty. He was sentenced on 25 February 2016 at Teesside Crown Court to imprisonment for 8 months, suspended for 24 months; with a rehabilitation activity requirement to carry out unpaid work for 120 hours. He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100 and prosecution costs of £100.
4. The Registrant was employed as an ODP at North Tees Hospital. He was arrested on 28 August 2015 at the hospital, his locker was searched and a quantity of cocaine was found. His home address was then searched and empty drug ampoules were found which had been taken from the Hospital and would have contained Diazepam, Midazolam and Ketamine. A drug ampoule which would have contained Diazepam was also recovered from the Registrant’s brother’s home. The Registrant admitted taking partly used ampoules of sedatives from the Hospital for his own use; and that he was a cocaine user. The drugs Diazepam, Midazolam and Ketamine are used in the Hospital operating theatre during operations. The Hospital manager stated that the Registrant’s behaviour had the potential to compromise patient safety. The drugs stolen should only be used in specialised areas by trained professionals and use outside the hospital environment by an untrained person could have serious consequences.
5. The Judge who sentenced the Registrant stated that the Registrant had been addicted to drugs and alcohol for a number of years. This was a very hazardous addiction for an ODP, as was his use of cocaine. The theft offence was described by the Judge as “a gross breach of trust”. The mitigating circumstances were the guilty pleas, the drug treatment participation and employment record of the Registrant.
6. The panel which made the substantive order of suspension for 12 months concluded that there was a possibility of full remediation and suggested further steps which might be taken by the Registrant, for the consideration of the reviewing panel.
First review hearing on 30 November 2017
7. The review hearing panel decision states that:
8. The Registrant gave evidence by telephone at the review hearing and stated he was working as an operations manager in the hospitality industry.
9. He stated he had been abstinent from drugs since his arrest on 28 August 2015. There was no independent evidence to confirm this but his Offender Manager had written a very supportive letter dated 20 November 2017. The Registrant wanted to return to ODP practice, subject to restrictions but he had not undertaken any relevant training or continuing professional development (CPD) since August 2015. He had not produced a written reflective piece or evidence of insight, as suggested by the substantive hearing panel.
10. The reviewing panel concluded that the Registrant had not developed full insight and there was a risk of repetition. Therefore the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired on personal and public policy grounds.
11. The panel then went on to consider the appropriate and proportionate sanction and determined that taking no further action, mediation or imposing a caution would not be sufficient to protect the public or in the public interest. The panel considered whether to impose conditions of practice but noted that appropriate conditions could not be formulated and determined that a conditions of practice order remained inappropriate. The panel decided to impose a further period of suspension for 12 months.
12. The reviewing panel gave guidance as to what would be helpful for the next reviewing panel to receive. This included the Registrant’s participation at the hearing, independent evidence to confirm his continued abstinence for drugs, a reflective piece, evidence of training and CPD and testimonials. The previous review panel also pointed out that the next reviewing panel could impose a Striking Off Order.
13. Ms Wills submitted on behalf of the HCPC that it was clear that full remediation had not taken place and the Registrant‘s fitness to practise remained impaired on personal and public policy grounds due to the nature of the conviction and the failure to remediate or to engage fully with the HCPC review process. The HCPC submitted that the minimum required sanction in this case was a further period of suspension and if the Registrant was unable to resolve the outstanding issues giving rise to his current impairment then a Striking Off Order would be appropriate.
14. The Panel heard evidence from the Registrant today that he has started a new career and complied with the court orders including drug treatment and met all the requirements imposed on him by the court order of 25 February 2015. He has not obtained evidence of drug testing from his GP because the GP would not provide this without a court order. He also misunderstood the requirements for a return to practice and assumed he would have to undertake a further university course which he could not afford to fund. He now understands that there are different options available to him and says he is working successfully in hospitality management and has been nominated for a national award in his current role.
15. He stated that he has been abstinent from drugs since January 2016. He was under the impression that he could not return to the HCPC register and therefore did not obtain the evidence suggested by the previous panels. However, he has successfully undertaken a drug rehabilitation programme and has discussed options for supervised practice with an ODP mentor and colleague. He stated that he is now in a much better place than he was 2 years ago, his health has improved and he is successfully managing his finances. He is aware of the harm which his behaviour could have caused to the public and is willing to provide references from his previous employer and the further information suggested by the reviewing panel.
16. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that its purpose today was not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations nor was it to go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on Article 30 reviews dated June 2018. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired and the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired because there has been no change of circumstances since the last review. The Registrant has not addressed the issues raised by the previous panels, or recognised the impact of his behaviour upon the reputation of the profession. He has not addressed any of the recommendations of the previous panels, or provided evidence to this Panel to demonstrate that he is not currently impaired despite the findings of the previous panels. The Registrant has given evidence today in which he acknowledged that taking drugs from hospital could have harmed the public, but he has not addressed the issues of the potential harm to patients, the reputation of the profession and the public interest matters raised by his behaviour and his insight remains limited. Given the lack of remediation and the Registrant’s limited insight the Panel concluded that there must still remain a risk of repetition. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired don bot the personal and the public components.
17. The Panel then went on to consider what the appropriate and proportionate sanction should be. It had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy issued by the HCPTS and considered the available sanctions in order of severity, starting with the least restrictive. In the light of the Registrant’s very limited engagement over the past 2 years, his failure to provide any evidence that he has remediated his past failings and his limited insight the Panel determined that taking no further action, mediation or imposing a caution would not be sufficient to protect the public or be in the public interest.
18. The Panel considered whether to impose conditions of practice. The Panel noted that the previous panels had determined that conditions of practice were not appropriate. This Panel noted that a Conditions of Practice Order remained inappropriate because there has been very intermittent engagement by the Registrant and the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy states that Conditions of Practice are unlikely to be suitable in cases of serious or persistent overall failings, where the Registrant lacks insight, or in relation to dishonesty or breach of trust. The Panel is satisfied from the evidence given by the Registrant today that he is now more committed than previously when his engagement was limited and he had failed to address the issues including the risk of repetition. The Registrant could be helped to return to practice at a future date by the imposition of conditions, but at present conditions of practice would not provide sufficient public protection.
19. The Panel considered the HCPC’s Indicative Sanction Policy (ISP) which states that if the evidence suggests that the Registrant will be unable to resolve or remedy his failings then Striking Off may be the more appropriate option. However, where there are no psychological or other difficulties preventing the Registrant from understanding and seeking to remedy the failings then suspension may be appropriate. In this case the Registrant has not denied the Allegations and has demonstrated a willingness to resolve matters, therefore a Suspension Order is appropriate in accordance with the ISP. The panel did consider the imposition of a Striking Off Order, but was of the view that it was not necessary for public protection and would be punitive and disproportionate under the current circumstances.
20. The Registrant has had access to the HCPC Return to Practice Guidelines on the HCPC’s website for the last 2 years, but has not taken any action in accordance with those guidelines. Nor has he complied with the suggestions of the previous panels as to how he might remedy his failings. However, he told the Panel he has had health problems and has now “turned a corner.” The Panel accepts that the Registrant has further developed his insight and remorse since the last hearing and has demonstrated meaningful engagement with the Panel today. This Panel is prepared to provide the Registrant with a further opportunity to remediate his current impairment and he is now fully aware of the requirements of the Return to Practice Guidelines. The Panel would like to remind the Registrant that this will be his third period of Suspension and that a future reviewing panel may have a Striking Off Order at the forefront of its mind if the Registrant once again fails to address his past failings and does not act upon the sugestions of this Panel.
21. The Panel then went on to consider the length of the Suspension Order and decided that a period of 6 months is appropriate because a longer period would be disproportionate.
22. The Panel reminds the Registrant that this Order will be reviewed by another Panel before it expires. The reviewing Panel is likely to be assisted by the following including the provision of documentation at least one month before the review hearing:
• Participation by the Registrant, preferably in person at the hearing itself;
• Up-to date and independent evidence of the Registrant’s continued
abstinence from drugs comprising at least two drug tests undertaken at least 1 month apart;
• Evidence from the Registrant’s General Practitioner (GP) confirming his health since 2016 including abstinence from drugs;
• A reflective piece from the Registrant addressing his understanding of the impact of his conduct and convictions on patient safety and public
• Evidence of the steps that he had taken by way of training, CPD and other relevant courses, to maintain his professional skills and knowledge;
• Testimonials from his current or previous employer in relation to his performance since 2016
Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Jamie S Broadbent from the Register for a further period of 6 months on the expiry of the existing suspension order.
The order imposed today will apply from 26 December 2018.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 26 June 2019.