Mr Adrian M Stanley
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The following allegation was considered by a Panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at the substantive hearing on 13 October 2016:
Whilst registered as a Paramedic:
1) On 20 August 2015 at Dolgellau Magistrates Court you were convicted of:
a) On 25 June 2015 driving a motor vehicle on Beach Road, Talybont after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in your urine, namely 276 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millimetres, exceeded the prescribed limit.
b) On 28 June 2015 driving a motor vehicle on Llwyn Ynn, Talybont after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in your urine, namely 124 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine, exceeded the prescribed limit.
2) By reason of your conviction for the offences set out at paragraph 1, your fitness to practise as a Paramedic is impaired.
1. The Panel has been convened to undertake a review of a substantive order of suspension imposed upon the HCPC registration of the Registrant, Mr Adrian Stanley, in the Paramedic part of the HCPC Register. The review is being conducted under the provisions of Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.
2. In advance of the present hearing the Registrant requested that he be permitted to participate in the hearing by telephone. Given the distance the Registrant would have needed to travel to physically attend the hearing, the Panel agreed to this manner of participation. The Registrant was on the telephone throughout the hearing until the Panel retired to reach its decision. Another engagement meant that the Registrant was unable to be available on the telephone to hear the Panel’s decision.
3. The HCPC’s allegation was that his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of convictions.
4. Two convictions were alleged by the HCPC. The convictions were recorded at the Dolgellau Magistrates’ Court on 20 August 2015 upon the Registrant’s guilty pleas. The offences admitted by the Registrant were that:
• on 25 June 2015 he drove a motor vehicle on the road when he had consumed so much alcohol that he had 276 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millitres of urine (the prescribed limit being 107 milligrammes of alcohol).
• on 28 June 2015 (three days after the earlier incident) he again drove a vehicle on the road when the level of alcohol was 124 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millitres of urine.
5. The sentence imposed by the Court included a curfew requirement for 12 weeks which was subject to an Electronic Monitoring Requirement and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, disqualification from driving for 24 months and various financial elements.
6. The final hearing of the allegations took place on 13 October 2016. Before it took place the Registrant informed the HCPC that he no longer wished to practise as a Paramedic, and that since retiring the previous year he did not wish to engage in the fitness to practise process as he considered that the proceedings were adversely affecting his health. Before the final hearing the HCPC also received confirmation from the Registrant’s former employer, West Midlands Ambulance Service, that the Registrant was no longer employed, having retired on grounds of health in July 2015.
7. The final hearing was held on 13 October 2016. The Registrant did not attend it and made no representations for the purposes of it. The final hearing panel determined that the convictions had been proved and that the convictions were then impairing his fitness to practise. That panel summarised its reasons for its finding that his fitness to practise was impaired as follows:
• he had in the past placed, as was liable in the future to place, the public at risk of harm;
• he had in the past brought, and was liable in the future to being, his profession into disrepute;
• he had in the past breached, and was liable in the future to breach, one of the fundamental tenets of his profession.
8. When the final hearing panel considered the issue of sanction, it determined that the appropriate sanction was one of suspension for a period of 12 months. The panel suggested that a reviewing panel might be assisted by the following:
• The Registrant’s attendance at the hearing.
• A reflective piece written by the Registrant, demonstrating insight into his convictions and the real and potential consequences of his behaviour on others, and any remedial action undertaken during the period of suspension.
• Evidence of continuing professional development, to maintain the Registrant’s competence as a paramedic.
9. The suspension order imposed by the final hearing panel was reviewed on 5 October 2017. The Registrant did not attend the review hearing and he did not produce any of the material suggested by the final hearing panel, or make any submissions. The reviewing panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was still impaired. The reviewing panel decided that a further period of suspension for 12 months was the appropriate sanction to be imposed. In imposing this further period of suspension, the reviewing panel repeated the recommendations of the final hearing panel as to steps the Registrant might take.
10. In presenting the HCPC’s case to the Panel today, the Presenting Officer outlined the background to the case. She submitted that there had been minimal engagement by the Registrant and the absence of information that might have been provided by him should lead the Panel to find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired. She submitted that the circumstances required the imposition of a further sanction and that neither a caution order nor a conditions of practice order would be a sufficient response. So far as a further period of suspension is concerned, she submitted that it is very unlikely that the Registrant would develop the insight he has hitherto failed to demonstrate. Accordingly, she asked the Panel to give consideration to the imposition of a striking off order.
11. In addressing the Panel, the Registrant confirmed to the Panel that he had retired from his employment as a Paramedic in July 2015 and had no intention of returning to work as a Paramedic.
12. The Panel has approached the decision it is required to make by first deciding whether the final hearing panel’s decision that the allegation was well founded is still impairing the Registrant’s fitness to practise. If the answer to that first question is that there is no continuing impairment of fitness to practise, then there should be no further sanction imposed when the current period of suspension comes to an end. If, on the other hand, there is continuing impairment of fitness to practise, then the Panel must consider whether a further sanction is required when the current period of suspension ends. If a further sanction is required, then ordinary sanction principles apply; it is not to be imposed to punish the Registrant, and must be the least restrictive outcome consistent with the need to protect the public and to maintain a proper degree of confidence in the Paramedic profession and the regulation of it.
13. The Panel has applied the approach just described. It has heeded the guidance contained in the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy. When the Panel considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired, the Panel concluded that it is. The Panel concluded that the Registrant demonstrated some, but limited, insight into his actions. But overall, the Panel concluded that there was an absence of recognition of the full seriousness of his actions and very limited engagement in the fitness to practise proceedings. The Registrant has not provided the Panel with any of the material suggested by the two previous panels.
14. These shortcomings had the consequence that the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired upon consideration of both the personal and public components. The personal component is engaged because the Registrant has not demonstrated full insight. When addressing the Panel he did mention the effect of his convictions on the profession, but not on potential service users. The Panel received no evidence of remedial action other than that imposed by the Court. The public component is engaged because the two convictions were serious. The circumstances of the first conviction were particularly serious because of the very high level of intoxication and, given the Registrant’s awareness as a result of his own work, of the potential consequences of drinking and driving. Although the level of intoxication in the second incident was significantly lower, it was nevertheless a very serious failing because it occurred only three days after the first offence. Allowing the Registrant to return to unrestricted practice would damage the reputation of the profession given that he has not engaged in a meaningful way with the Regulator, until today, and not done what previous panels suggested.
15. The Panel therefore considered whether the finding that there was continuing impairment of fitness to practise required the imposition of a further sanction when the current period of suspension ends. The conclusion of the Panel is that the findings, although based upon events that occurred over three years ago, are sufficiently serious to require a further sanction. A caution order would not reflect the seriousness of the findings nor would it protect the public from a future risk of harm. Furthermore, a conditions of practice order would not be appropriate to address the matters underpinning the findings even if the Registrant was intending to work as a Paramedic, which he is not.
16. It was therefore necessary for the Panel to choose between making a further period of suspension or making a striking off order. It has twice been suggested to the Registrant the steps that he could take if he was minded to be permitted to return to practise as a Paramedic, and he has not taken those steps. That is perhaps unsurprising as he has not practised as a Paramedic for over three years and has no intention of doing so in the future. The Panel therefore rejected the possibility of making a suspension order in the hope that the Registrant’s fitness to practise at the end of a further period would be such that a different, less restrictive, outcome could be envisaged.
17. The Panel did consider whether it would be appropriate to order a further, short, period of suspension to enable consideration to be given to voluntary removal as the Registrant stated to the Panel today that he would wish his registration with the HCPC to come to an end “honourably”. Having very carefully considered this option, the Panel rejected it. The only engagement by the Registrant has been the communication before the final hearing in October 2016 when he stated that he would not be engaging, the communication shortly before the present hearing to request telephone participation in the present hearing and the telephone participation in the present hearing. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that a further order of suspension for the sole purpose that consideration could be given to a process which was not certain to be permitted would be a disproportionate step to take. If the Registrant had wished the HCPC to consider voluntary removal he should have engaged in the fitness to practise process earlier, and certainly no later than the review held in October 2017.
18. It follows from the rejection of all other sanctions that the Panel has concluded that a striking off order is the appropriate sanction to come into effect when the present period of suspension ends. Given the seriousness of the matters proved against the Registrant, his limited engagement in the process and the absence of a realistic prospect of full remediation, the Panel has concluded that striking off is, at the present time, a proportionate response.
With effect from the expiry of the current period of suspension, namely with effect from 10 November 2018, the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Adrian M Stanley from the Register.
This substantive review hearing took place in Cardiff at Radisson Blu, Meridian Gate, Bute Terrace, Cardiff CF10 2FL on 12 October 2018.