Ms Havlickova Iveta

Profession: Chiropodist / podiatrist

Registration Number: CH34487

Hearing Type: Consent Order Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 05/04/2019 End: 17:00 05/04/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

Whilst employed as a registered Podiatrist at Active Life Podiatry:

1. On 16 August 2017, during an appointment with Service User A, you:
a) Applied an excessive dose of monochloroacetic acid and/or salicylic acid to Service User A’s feet.
b) Did not obtain informed consent from Service User A prior to undertaking this treatment, in that you did not explain the risks of the treatment to Service User A.
c) Did not ensure that Service User A was aware of what action to take if a complication occurred following the treatment.

2. The facts as described in paragraph 1 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

Finding

Preliminary matters:


Service of Notice and Proceeding in the Registrant’s Absence

1. The HCPC provided evidence that Notice of today’s hearing had been sent by way of letter on 11 February 2019 to the Registrant’s address on the HCPC register and by email. This contained the full details of the date, time and location of the hearing. The Panel was satisfied that the rules as to service had been complied with.

2. Ms Senior applied to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She submitted that it was appropriate to proceed in absence. The Registrant was legally represented and her solicitors had indicated by email of 5 April 2019 to the HCPC that the Registrant was aware of the hearing and would not be attending the hearing, nor would she be represented. Ms Senior submitted that it was fair and in the interests of the public to proceed today, that an adjournment would serve no purpose and that this was a consent hearing.

3. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised that if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant then the Panel has the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He referred the Panel to the HCPTS Guidance Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and to Adeogba v GMC [2016] EWCA Civ 162, reminding the Panel that fairness to the Registrant was the prime consideration, but that fairness to the HCPC and the interests of the public should also be taken into account.


4. The Panel agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. It is satisfied that it is both in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel noted that the Registrant’s solicitors had clearly indicated that she would not be attending and did not seek an adjournment. It balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and concluded that the Registrant has voluntarily absented herself. This was a consent hearing and no useful purpose would be served by adjourning the hearing. In these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that it is fair and appropriate to proceed in her absence.


Background:


5. The Registrant is a registered Podiatrist, who at the relevant time was employed as a Podiatrist at Active Life Podiatry. This was the Registrant’s first role after qualifying. She continues to be employed there.


6. On 18 September 2017 the HCPC received a referral from Service User A’s mother, raising concerns about the treatment that the Registrant provided to Service User A, a 17 year old, on 16 August 2017. The concerns raised were in relation to the Registrant’s failure to obtain consent before performing treatment, failure to provide advice on follow up actions following treatment and the Registrant’s failure to use corrosive substances appropriately. The Registrant had immediately apologised and had accepted that the acid solution she had used on Service User A had been too strong. The Registrant was remorseful. She continues to be well supported by her employers.


7. The matter was investigated by the HCPC and on 2 July 2018 it was referred to the Investigating Committee Panel. It decided that the Registrant had a case to answer in respect of the following allegation:-


“Whilst employed as a registered Podiatrist at Active Life Podiatry:
1) On 16 August 2017, during an appointment with Service User A you:
a) Applied an excessive dose of monochloroacetic acid and/or salicylic acid to Service User A’s feet.
b) Did not obtain informed consent from Service User A prior to undertaking this treatment, in that you did not explain the risks of the treatment to Service User A.
c) Did not ensure that Service User A was aware of what action to take if a complication occurred following the treatment.
2) The facts as described in paragraph 1 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
3) By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.”


HCPC Submissions:


8. Ms Senior set out the background to the case and referred the Panel to her Skeleton Argument and to the HCPTS Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent. She advised the Panel that the Registrant was legally represented and had agreed to dispose of this case by way of a Consent Order, having admitted the allegation and that her fitness to practice was currently impaired. She submitted that this application was a joint application by the HCPC and the Registrant.


9. Ms Senior told the Panel that the Registrant consents to the imposition of a 1 year Caution Order. The Registrant was newly qualified at the time and this was an isolated incident. The Registrant had clearly expressed remorse and had completed an impressive amount of CPD since the incident. There was also evidence of reflective practice. Ms Senior submitted that the risk of any repetition of the incident was accordingly low and she referred the Panel to the three positive references about the Registrant’s practice.


10. Ms Senior submitted that the proposed Consent Order secured the appropriate level of public protection and would not be detrimental to the wider public interest. She submitted that the Registrant’s action may have been misguided, but there was nothing to suggest anything malicious or deliberate. This was a case at the lower end of the scale of seriousness. She submitted that a final, contested hearing was not required to satisfy the public interest.


11. Ms Senior referred to the guidance in Cohen v GMC [2008] EWHC 581 and submitted that the public interest was satisfied by the Consent Order and the imposition of a 1 year Caution Order. She submitted that the Consent Order was both expeditious and appropriate in this case.


12. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor as to the importance of the public interest and protection of the public. He reminded the Panel that that the Registrant had, as required, been advised by letter of 4 July 2018 from the HCPC, that it was for a Panel to decide on whether disposal by way of a Consent Order was appropriate. He referred the Panel to the terms of the Consent Order and to the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent. The Panel should not agree to a case being resolved by consent unless it is satisfied that the appropriate level of public protection is being secured, and that doing so would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.


Decision:


13. The Panel carefully considered all the information provided to it, including the Registrant’s continuing practice development records and positive references. It also considered the HCPC’s submissions, the HCPTS Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent, and the Consent Order.


14. The Panel noted this was an isolated incident which occurred in the infancy of the Registrant’s career. It noted that the Registrant had followed the policy of her employer with regard to obtaining consent, and that she had followed the treatment plan prepared by the senior Podiatrist at the Practice. The Registrant has fully remediated, has shown remorse and has apologised repeatedly. She has reflected on her practice and has completed extensive CPD. The risk of repetition appears to be negligible. The Panel also noted the positive references which speak highly of the Registrant.


15. The Panel had regard to the Practice Note and the issues it must consider. It concluded that in these circumstances the Consent Order imposing a 1 year Caution Order is proportionate and adequately protects the public. The allegation is at the lower end of seriousness, the Registrant has admitted it, and has undertaken significant and meaningful remediation.


16. The Panel considered the wider public interest. It considered that in these circumstances the public interest would not be served by requiring this matter to proceed to a full, contested hearing. The Registrant has admitted the allegation and has fully engaged with the HCPC. The Panel is of the view that it is most unlikely that a Panel at a Substantive Hearing would impose a sanction in excess of a Caution Order were it to find the Registrant’s fitness to practise impaired.


17. The Panel is therefore satisfied that the appropriate level of public protection is secured by the Consent Order and that agreeing to it would not be detrimental to the wider public interest. It protects and maintains public confidence in the profession and in the regulator and it upholds proper standards. The Panel accordingly agreed to the matter being concluded by means of the Consent Order.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to annotate the register entry of the Registrant, Havlickova Iveta, with a caution which is to remain on the register for a period of one year from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Ms Havlickova Iveta

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
05/04/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Consent Order Hearing Caution