Mr Purnoor S Bawa

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH71238

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 12/04/2019 End: 12:00 12/04/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: No further action

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Allegation

(The following allegation was considered and found proved by a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee at the substantive hearing which took place on 14 - 16 January 2019).


During the course of your employment with Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust as a Band 8a Physiotherapist, you:

1. Between January 2014 and December 2015, did not work your contracted hours, in that you consistently arrived late for work and/or left early.

2. Agreed to work approximately 53.5 extra hours in lieu of paid annual leave between September 2014 and January 2015 and then did not work all of the agreed extra hours.

3. On one or more occasions between July 2014 to September 2015:

a. changed patient appointments without informing administrative staff and/or updating your electronic calendar, including:

i. Patient A on 4 July 2014
ii. Patient B on 15 September 2015;

b. changed patient appointments as referred to in Paragraph 3(a) to suit your own personal circumstances.

4. The actions described in paragraphs 1-3 are dishonest.

5. The matters described in Paragraphs 1- 4 constitute misconduct.

6. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters:
Service

1. The Panel was satisfied that notice of today’s hearing had been properly served on the Registrant in terms of the relevant rules of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”) on 12 March 2019.

Proceeding in Absence

2. Ms Knight referred to the Rules, the HCPTS Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and the relevant case law.  Ms Knight advised the Panel that the Registrant is aware of these proceedings and referred them to an email received from the Registrant’s Representative Mr Joliffe dated 10 April 2019. The Panel is aware that its discretion to proceed in absence is one which should be exercised with care.  Thereafter, if the Panel is satisfied on notice, the discretion whether or not to proceed must be exercised having regard to all the circumstances of which the Panel is aware, with fairness to the Registrant being a prime consideration, but balancing that with fairness to the HCPC and the interests of the public.  

3. The Panel agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it is satisfied that it is fair and in the public interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel noted that the HCPC has made reasonable efforts to give notice and has complied with its Rules on notice. The Registrant has not asked for an adjournment and the Panel consider that the Registrant has waived his right to attend. As such the Panel also took account of the fact that this is a mandatory review hearing and that an adjournment would serve no purpose. The Panel balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and the public interest. In these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that it is appropriate and fair to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Background:

4. The Registrant qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2003. From August 2005 he worked as a Physiotherapist at a number of hospital trusts in the UK.

5. In August 2011 he was employed as a Physiotherapist, Extended Scope Practitioner Band 8a, by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust ("the Trust"). He remained in that employment until May 2016.

6. The Registrant held clinics in a number of different centres. He was contracted to work four days weekly for a total of 37.5 hours. On three days his hours were 8:00am to 6:00pm, on the fourth day 8:00am to 5:30pm.

7. On various occasions the Registrant found it difficult to arrive at his clinics at the appointed time. Furthermore, on occasions he was leaving earlier than the contractual time. He said that this was due to his childcare arrangements.

8. Eventually, in September 2015, when it became apparent that these were more than isolated instances, a review of the Registrant's working times was instituted. This revealed that he was consistently arriving more than half an hour later than his start time, and was leaving, on occasions, as long as two hours before his contractual finishing time. Furthermore, that he was moving patient appointments to an earlier time with a consequent loss of potential clinic time. This lost time could have been used to accommodate other patients, or to enable him to undertake triaging of patients who had been referred to the service.

9. In September 2014, the Registrant was granted leave to travel to India, to visit his unwell father. He explained to the Trust that he could not afford this leave to be unpaid. It was therefore agreed, before he left, that on his return he would work 53.5 extra hours to make up the time lost. These additional hours were added to his clinic calendar. However, the review indicated that the agreed 53.5 hours were not completed.

10. The previous panel found the Registrant’s fitness to practise impaired on the public component only, on the basis that the dishonesty found proved was a serious abuse of the Registrant’s position of trust as a senior and experienced practitioner.

11. That panel therefore considered a Suspension Order. It concluded that suspension for a relatively short period would be sufficient, appropriate and proportionate as a sanction. It would address public interest concerns, and would send a message to the profession that dishonest conduct is unacceptable. Furthermore, such an order would be an opportunity for the Registrant to reflect upon his misconduct, its effect upon the Trust and his consequent reduced availability to patients.

12. The final hearing panel noted that “any reviewing panel would doubtless be assisted by a written reflection by the Registrant about the likely effect that his misconduct had upon the Trust, his availability to patients, and the reputation of the profession and public perception about his conduct.”

Today’s Hearing:

HCPC’s Submissions

13. Ms Knight submitted that the email received from the Registrant’s Representative dated 10 April 2019 was not sufficient to demonstrate that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is no longer impaired. She submitted that the Registrant had not provided a personal reflective piece.


Registrant’s Submisions

14. The Panel noted the contents of the email dated 10 April 2019 from the Registrant’s legal representatives. It is stated there “he is very sorry that his misconduct caused considerable financial loss to Kent Community NHS Trust (‘the Trust’). In addition, the Trust was further burdened with a need to carry out a lengthy investigation that led to further cost and loss of working hours…. The Registrant has let his patients down by being untruthful to them. He is very sorry for any stress experienced by patients as a result and to those who investigated his misconduct.”

15. Furthermore the email expressed the Registrant’s apology to the HCPC and the profession. In addition, it asked the Panel to have regard to the other information provided in the email, namely that the Registrant had attended counselling sessions, had worked on time management issues as well as body and mind balance and his ability to deal with stress in his professional and personal life.

Decision:

16. The Panel reminded itself that the decision on impairment is a matter for its own professional judgement. It noted that in the context of an Article 30 review there is an onus on the Registrant to demonstrate they are no longer impaired. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel had regard to the personal and public component of impairment. It noted that there had been no personal component found by the previous panel and that the current Suspension Order was made solely on the basis of the public interest alone.

17. The Panel is satisfied, having considered the contents of the email dated 10 April 2019 that the Registrant has engaged in the necessary reflective work expected of him. The email has been written by the Registrant’s legal representatives upon instruction.  The Panel asked itself whether the need to declare and uphold proper standards and to maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be undermined if a finding of continued impairment were not made. It is satisfied in the context of a case where there was no risk to the public, that the Registrant has now demonstrated sufficient insight and remorse into the effects of his actions on service users and on the wider public interest.

18. The Panel is satisfied that any risk of repetition remains extremely low, the Registrant has done what was expected of him for the purposes of this review and the wider public interest would not be undermined by allowing the Registrant to return to practise.

19. In the circumstances the Panel finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is no longer impaired and is content for the order to lapse upon it’s expiry on 13 May 2019.

 

 

 

 

Order

No information currently available

Notes

The current Suspension Order will lapse upon it’s expiry on 13 May 2019.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Purnoor S Bawa

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
12/04/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action
30/01/2019 Investigating Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
14/01/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended
06/12/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Review Interim Conditions of Practice
25/05/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Review Interim Conditions of Practice
27/02/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Review Interim Conditions of Practice
13/09/2017 Investigating committee Interim Order Application Interim Conditions of Practice