Miss Catherine A Weir

Profession: Biomedical scientist

Registration Number: BS43280

Interim Order: Imposed on 29 Jun 2017

Hearing Type: Voluntary Removal Agreement

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 08/04/2019 End: 17:00 08/04/2019

Location: The Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

Whilst Registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Biomedical Scientist;

1. Between around 18 March 2016 and 3 March 2017, whilst employed as a Biomedical Scientist by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust:

a. On 18 March 2016, you did not follow correct standards of practice on issues of Human Albumin Solutions (HAS) correctly in that:

(i) you did not check the volume and/or concentration requested;

(ii) you issued HAS at the wrong volume and/or concentration

b. You did not follow the Standard Operating Procedures for sample acceptance criteria, in that you:

(i) On 12 April 2016, accepted a sample despite the forename of the patient being misspelt; and/or

(ii) On 18 August 2016, accepted a sample that contained the wrong date of birth for the patient;

c. On 14 April 2016, you did not follow the Standard Operating Procedures for irradiated products in that you did not add the irradiatedproducts alert correctly onto the patient’s electronic record;

d. On 29 June 2016, you did not follow the Standard Operating Procedures on serological cross-matching in that you chose a unit of Rhesus positive blood for issue to a patient with Rhesus negative blood type;

e. On 11 October 2016, you:

(i) did not make further enquiries in relation to a patient’s requirements for irradiated blood products; and/or

(ii) ordered one unit of blood to be transported by taxi;

ii) caused a delay to the patient’s blood transfusion

f. On 22 October 2016, you did not follow the Standard Operating Procedure of reagent control in that you:

(i) did not correctly check the expiry dates of the reagents to be used

(ii) recorded the incorrect expiry date for the reagents on Gelstation;

g. On 8 December 2016, in relation to an ABO blood group anomaly you:

(i) did not conduct further tests when it was appropriate to do so; and/or

(ii) incorrectly concluded that the patient was blood group A Positive;

h. On 26 December 2016, you did not follow correct standards of practice on the electronic issue of red blood cells in that you:

(i) did not input the timings of the two samples into the APEX computer system; and/or

(ii) issued red blood cells using electronic issue when it was not appropriate to do so;

i. You issued untreated fresh frozen plasma to a patient born after 1 January 1996 on:

(i) 13 January 2017 and/or

(ii) 16 January 2017

j. On 24 February 2017, you were unable to complete work on a NEQAS (National External Quality Assurance Scheme) sample to the expected standard;

k. On 3 March 2017, you did not demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge in relation to High Titre labelling;

l. On 27 February 2017, you did not follow the Standard Operating Procedures for samples acceptance criteria in that you processed samples for two patients when the form did not match the information on the sample;

m. On 20 February 2017, you did not demonstrate awareness of the BCSH (British Committee for Standards in Haemotology) Guidelines in relation to the identification of antibodies;

n. On 28 February 2017, you were unable to complete an antibody exercise from the Transfusion Science book to the expected standard;

2. Did not obtain consent/permission from your managers to use their personal information to support your application for your IBMS (Institute of Biomedical Science) Specialist Portfolio;

3. Your actions as set out in paragraph 2 were dishonest.

4. The matters set out in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

5. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

1. The Panel has been convened to consider an application jointly made by the HCPC and the Registrant, Miss Catherine Weir, seeking the voluntary removal of the latter from the HCPC Register.

2. The Registrant did not attend the hearing in person, but participated by telephone. The Panel confirms that the Registrant was on the telephone throughout all of the periods when the Panel was in the hearing room.

Background

3. The Registrant is registered as a Biomedical Scientist. The matters that were included in the fitness to practise proceedings concerning the Registrant arose while she worked for East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She was initially employed on a fixed term contract from 18 August 2014, but from 1 June 2016 her employment was on a permanent basis.

4. Following an incident that occurred on 26 December 2016, the Registrant was placed on a formal action plan. It was contended on behalf of the Trust that the action plan did not result in an improvement in the Registrant’s performance. Redeployment was considered, but the Registrant resigned from her employment and ceased working for the Trust in August 2017.

5. On 16 October 2017, a panel of the Investigating Committee determined that there was a case to answer in relation to contentions that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of misconduct and/or lack of competence. Extensive particulars of the misconduct and/or lack of competence were included in the referral. In August 2018, the factual particulars were amended at a preliminary hearing.

6. The Registrant first sought voluntary removal from the HCPC Register on 27 November 2017. At that stage, however, the HCPC did not consider that it was appropriate to join with the Registrant in applying for voluntary removal because the allegation included concerns regarding patient safety and a contention of dishonesty. The matter therefore proceeded to a substantive hearing.

7. The substantive hearing was held between 26 and 28 November 2018. The Registrant did not participate in the hearing, which then proceeded in her absence.

8. It is important to note what was, and what was not, proved at the substantive hearing as the Panel considers that Schedule A to the Voluntary Removal Agreement is neither, on the one hand, the complete allegation that was considered by the substantive hearing panel, nor does it reflect the findings in relation to the allegation. The findings were as follows:

• All of the sub-particulars within particular 1 were found to be factually proven. Particular 2 was also factually proven. It is important to note that particular 3, which alleged that the Registrant had acted dishonestly, was not proven;

• None of the proven facts amounted to a lack of competence;

• The following proven facts amounted to misconduct: 1(a)(i)&(ii); 1(b)(i)&(ii); 1(c); 1(d); 1(e)(i), 1f(i)&(ii); 1(g)(i)&(ii); 1(h)(i)&(ii); 1(i)(i)&(ii); 1(l). In relation to the proven elements of particular 1 that did not amount to misconduct, the substantive hearing panel considered that they did not reach the threshold of seriousness to be so categorised. So far as particular 2 was concerned, the substantive hearing panel stated that it considered that the Registrant’s actions had been ill advised, but it was not satisfied that there had been any deceitful intent. Accordingly, it did not include particular 2 in the finding of misconduct;

• The misconduct was impairing the Registrant’s fitness to practise as at the time of the substantive hearing in late November 2018. The substantive hearing panel decided that both personal component and public component elements of that consideration required such a finding;

• In relation to sanction, the substantive hearing panel decided that the appropriate order was one of suspension for a period of 12 months. That panel stated that it had considered striking off as an appropriate outcome, but that it had ultimately concluded that it would be disproportionate at the time of its decision because the failings might be capable of remediation.

9. The consequence of the imposition of a suspension order for a period of 12 months is that, as things stand, a review of that order will be required before the end of 2019.

Decision

10. The present Panel has approached the decision on the voluntary removal application by considering four matters. Those matters, and the Panel’s conclusions in relation to them, are:

• That the Registrant does indeed seek voluntary removal and that she understands the consequences that would result from the Panel acceding to the application. The Panel finds that the Registrant has been consistent in her view that she would wish to be removed from the HCPC Register for a period of over 16 months. Furthermore, the Registrant confirmed to the Panel today that she desires voluntary removal. That the Registrant understands the consequence of removal was demonstrated by her stating that she is having to accept the end of a 20-year-long career as a Biomedical Scientist;

• That the Registrant has accepted what was established against her by the substantive hearing panel. This is important so that the findings can be considered in the event that the Registrant applies for re-admission to the HCPC Register. The Panel finds that the Voluntary Removal Agreement executed by the Registrant satisfies this requirement.

• That acceding to voluntary removal will afford a proper degree of public protection. As any sanction that could possibly be imposed could not exceed the public protection afforded by removal of a registrant’s name from the HCPC Register, the Panel decided that this element was satisfied.

• That there are no other public interest considerations that should result in voluntary removal being denied. It has already been stated that when the Registrant first sought voluntary removal, the HCPC declined that request because of the seriousness of the allegation at that time and the inclusion of a contention of dishonesty. However, now that the allegation has been fully considered at a public substantive hearing, in the judgement of the present Panel there can be no legitimate reason for concluding that the public interest would be undermined by permitting voluntary removal. Indeed, the Panel considers that the public interest would not be served by permitting the suspension order to continue, particularly as there is no realistic prospect of the Registrant’s fitness to practise being any different when that suspension order must be reviewed at the end of 2019.

11. It follows from these findings that the Panel agrees to the voluntary removal of the Registrant’s name from the HCPC Register. The Panel Chair will sign the necessary consent.

Order

The Panel granted the application for Voluntary Removal.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Catherine A Weir

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
08/04/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Voluntary Removal Agreement Voluntary Removal agreed
21/09/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
05/04/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
13/12/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
29/06/2017 Investigating committee Interim Order Application Interim Suspension