Dr Olga V Taylor

Profession: Biomedical scientist

Registration Number: BS48788

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 30/08/2019 End: 12:00 30/08/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

Please note that the decision can take up to 5 working days to be uploaded onto the HCPTS website. Please contact one of our Hearings Team Managers via tsteam@hcpts-uk.org or +44 (0)808 164 3084 if you require any further information.

 

Allegation

While registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council as a Biomedical Scientist, you:
1. On or around 24 November 2015, conducted a High Performance Liquid Chromatograph test of a sample provided by Patient X and you provided inaccurate and/or misleading information to him in that you reported that;
a) the high excretion of Homocysteine found in the sample was indicative of 'a significantly disrupted brain metabolism';

b) Not Found Proved

c) the results indicated "decreased glycogen deposition both in the liver and the brain", which is inaccurate as a biopsy would be needed to confirm this;

d) the patient's "ketonuria clearly indicates that there is a serious problem with any normal cell respiration and general metabolism", which is inaccurate as such a statement should not be made on the basis of urine tests without further clinical enquiries and/ or investigations.

e) that the results confirmed that the patient had "a lack of glucose, oxygen, vitamins A and E and possibly magnesium in some brain areas", which is inaccurate as it not possible to assert these findings from the results of the urine test;

f) distinguished between the peripheral (body) homocysteine and central (brain) homocysteine, which is inaccurate as it is not possible to differentiate between 'brain' and 'peripheral' homocysteine in urine.

2. Acted outside of the scope of your practice in providing advice to Patient X in that you:

a) stated that "buproprion and amantadine will not resolve the metabolic problem but will mask them";

b) made recommendations about homeopathic remedies.

c) advised Patient X to change his diet and/or to take different supplements;
d) provided Patient X with a clinical interpretation of the results of tests you conducted.

3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Application for parts of the hearing to be heard in private

1. Ms Senior, on behalf of the Health and Care Professions Council (‘HCPC’), submitted that parts of the hearing should be conducted in private, under Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 submitting that evidence relating to the Registrant’s health and private life would be provided to the Panel and therefore those aspects of the case should be considered in private.

Panel's Approach

2. The Panel had regard to the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (‘HCPTS’) practice note titled ‘Conducting Hearings in Private’.

3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

4. The Panel was satisfied that given that the case would include evidence regarding the Registrant’s health and private life, there was a need for that evidence to be heard in private, pursuant to Rule 10(1)(a) of the 2003 Rules.

Application to adjourn the hearing

5. On 14 August 2019, the Registrant emailed the HCPC requesting an adjournment of the review hearing on 30 August 2019. In her email she stated the following:

“Thank you for your patience.

Regrettably , neither I, nor my representative are able to attend this review on the 30 August 2019.

I wish to request a postponement for a few months.

There are some valid reasons for requesting this adjournment which are as follows :-

1.The notification for the review hearing has only given me some 5 weeks before the review. Therefore there is not sufficient time for me to prepare the necessary papers/documents which were specified in the letter of notification.

1.In the letter of notification of the review, nothing was mentioned regarding my comprehensive and full complaint regarding the case against me. This complaint was sent to the Complaint Department of the HCPC in February 2019 and was acknowledged in an E-mail received from that department.

My integrity as a medical practitioner will be jeopardised if I do not get a satisfactory explanation from the HCPC team why my case was based on the breach, by my accusers and HCPC team who supported them, of specific laws to protect the privacy of Patient X and myself.

As a scientist with more than 50 years of experience of working in various types of laboratory, I require a much higher level of expert assessment of my work. I have been a fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science for many years, also a member of The New York Academy of Science (which recognised my research in neuroscience). I am not satisfied with the very shallow assessment of my work by my accusers and the expert witness in my case who were not able to integrate the analytical results of the NHS laboratory and my laboratory. As a result of this, my approach (which is the most advanced approach revealing the patho-neurochemical components of diseases), was ridiculed and dismissed and it was also stated that it was harmful for Patent X, without providing any evidence of that harm.

My complaint , as previously mentioned, has been ignored by the HCPC, therefore , I do not have any other option than to forward the relevant documents (related to my case) from the HCPC and my complaint to the distinguished members of the IBM and also University professors who are experts in neuroscience.


I emphatically cannot accept that my analytical review has been ignored by the HCPC team conducting the case against me.


In order to co-operate further with the creators of the case against me I must have an explanation, from the HCPC team, as to why certain laws were broken to progress the allegations made against me.


Yours sincerely ,”

6. Given the proximity to the hearing, the Panel chair considered the Registrant’s application for an adjournment. In refusing the application the Panel chair provided the following reasons:

I. “Notice of the hearing was sent to the Registrant on 31 July 2019, more than 28 days prior to the hearing date. In addition, on 7 August 2019 the case manager reminded the Registrant of the guidance given by the final hearing panel. The Final determination made on 6 December 2018 and sent to the Registrant on 7 December 2018 stated "This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 3 October 2019". So the Registrant would have been fully aware of the impending review.

II. If they are unable to attend the hearing on 28 August 2019 the ability of the Registrant and/or her representative to fully present their case may be compromised. However this disadvantage could be mitigated if they take the opportunity to appear by video link, as the Registrant did at the final hearing. They may also make written submissions.

III. This is a mandatory review of a substantive suspension order. The HCPC will lose jurisdiction (enabling the Registrant to return to work) if the review is not held before its expiry on 3 October 2019. On enquiry the HCPC has indicated that it will be extremely difficult to re-list this matter in the next 6 weeks prior to 3 October 2019. Any adjournment of the hearing would therefore risk the expiry of the suspension order. Adjournment for 'a few months' as requested by the Registrant would certainly have this result.

IV. The final hearing panel found that the Registrant 'consistently demonstrated an almost total lack of insight into her failings' and that consequently there was a 'high likelihood of repetition' of the misconduct found proved. It would not, therefore, be in the public interest to allow the suspension order to expire without review.

V. The Registrant's complaints against the HCPC and about the calibre of the expert witnesses who gave evidence at the final hearing are separate matters. The Registrant has not submitted an appeal against the final hearing determination.

VI. Taking into consideration the need for expediency and in particular the likely consequences of an adjournment (expiry of the suspension order) I have decided to refuse the application for an adjournment.”

7. At the start of the hearing, the Registrant made a further written application for an adjournment in an email dated the 28 August 2019 and timed at 15:45pm.

Dr. Taylor requests that you familiarise all members of the review panel with the statement made in the E-mail which we sent you on 14 August (extract below) together with the amendments noted in red.

Regrettably , neither I, nor my representative are able to attend this review on the 30 August 2019. I apologise for any inconvenience that my absence will incur for the review panel.

I wish to request a postponement for a few months.

There are some valid reasons for requesting this adjournment which are as follows :-

My integrity as a medical practitioner will be jeopardised if I do not get a satisfactory explanation from the HCPC team why my case was based on the breach, by my accusers and HCPC team who supported them, of specific laws to protect the privacy of Patient X and myself.

As a scientist with more than 50 years of experience of working in various types of laboratory, I require a much higher level of expert assessment of my work. I have been a fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science for many years, also a member of The New York Academy of Science (which recognised my research in neuroscience). I am not satisfied with the very shallow assessment of my work by my accusers and the expert witness in my case who were not able to integrate the analytical results of the NHS laboratory and my laboratory. As a result of this, my approach (which is the most advanced approach revealing the patho-neurochemical components of diseases), was ridiculed and dismissed and it was also stated that it was harmful for Patent X, without providing any evidence of that harm.

In order to co-operate further with the creators of the case against me I must have an explanation, from the HCPC team, as to why certain laws were broken to progress the allegations made against me and why the HCPC team did not observe the rules and guidance of the HCPC and did not follow them, but ignored them in favour of instigating and processing further the case against me without any documented permission or

I emphatically cannot accept that my analytical review has been ignored by the HCPC team conducting the case against me.

I am considering contacting the police with regard to your continuous demands on me to reveal sensitive information relating to Patient X which is against the law.

8. Ms Senior opposed the Registrant’s application making the following submissions to the Panel:

(i) the Suspension Order is due to expire on the 3 October 2019. The HCPC are unable to relist another review hearing before the expiration of the order. Therefore, should the Panel acquiesce to the adjournment request then the current Suspension Order would likely lapse; and

(ii) the Registrant is aware that she could attend the proceedings by way of video-link, as she attended the substantive hearing by video-link. Moreover, the Registrant has also been made aware that she could attend the hearing by telephone or make written submissions to the Panel and she has chosen not to do so.

Panel’s approach

9. The Panel considered the HCPTS practice note titled ‘Postponement and Adjournment of Proceedings’. The Panel also accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

10. Having carefully considered the matter, the Panel decided to refuse the Registrant’s application to adjourn the hearing for the following reasons:

(i) the Panel considered the other points made as part of the Registrant’s request for an adjournment and concluded that the reasons provided were largely the same, as the previously rejected application. Therefore, the Panel could find no new reason to adjourn today’s proceedings;

(ii) the Panel considered the impact that adjourning today’s proceedings would have on the Suspension Order, noting in particular that the HCPC would be unable to relist the review hearing before the expiry date of the 3 October 2019. The Panel was particularly concerned that this would leave the public at risk, in light of the substantive hearing panel’s findings that the Registrant posed a risk to the public and had demonstrated no insight in respect of her misconduct;

(iii) any disadvantage to the Registrant, in respect of her not being able to present her case, was mitigated by the Registrant’s opportunity to submit written representations to the Panel or to appear by way of video-link or telephone. The Panel noted that the Registrant’s emails, dated 14 August 2019 and 28 August 2019, focussed solely on the Registrant’s application to adjourn the hearing rather than providing any evidence of remediation or insight to the Panel;

(iv) the Panel considered the public interest and the need for expediency in this case; and

(v) in the circumstances of this case the public would be left at risk if the Panel agreed to the Registrant’s application for an adjournment, because of the likely lapse of the Suspension Order.

Service

11. The Panel was provided with a signed certificate as proof that the Notice of Hearing had been sent in a letter, by first class post, on 31 July 2019 to the address shown for the Registrant on the HCPC register. The Notice of Hearing had also been sent to the Registrant by email on the same date.

12. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and was satisfied that Notice had been properly served in accordance with Rule 3 (proof of service) and Rule 6 (date, time and venue) of the Conduct and Competence Committee Rules 2003 (as amended).

Proceeding in absence of the Registrant

13. Mr Senior, on behalf of the HCPC, made an application for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence, as permitted by Rule 11 of the Conduct & Competence Rules.

14. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and took into account the guidance as set out in the HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in Absence”.

15. The Panel determined that it was reasonable and in the public interest to proceed with the hearing for the following reasons:

i. the Panel found good service in terms of the Notice of hearing;

ii. the Panel noted the contents of the HCPC bundle and the HCPC’s email correspondence with the Registrant;

iii. in particular, the Panel noted the contents of Registrant’s emails, dated 14 August 2019 and 28 August 2019, whereby the Registrant expressed knowledge of the hearing and its date;

iv. the Registrant’s previous application for an adjournment was refused on the 27 August 2019 and the decision was communicated to the Registrant on the 27 August 2019. The Registrant then made a further application for an adjournment on the morning of the hearing, both of which clearly indicate that the Registrant was aware of the date and time of the hearing as outlined in the Notice of hearing. The Panel therefore formed the view that she had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing;

v. whilst the Panel recognised that there may some disadvantage to the Registrant in not being able to make oral submissions, the Panel noted that she had been provided with every opportunity to attend, either in person or via other means, and had failed to do so; and

vi. finally, the Panel noted its duty to act in a manner which was in the public interest and in order to achieve that aim should act in a fair, economical and expeditious manner. Therefore, taking all of the aforementioned points into account and noting that the efficient disposal of cases concerning practitioners is of very real importance, the Panel determined that they should proceed in the absence of the Registrant because the public interest in proceeding with the case outweighed any detriment to the Registrant in not being present.

Background

16. After graduating from a Russian university in 1972, the Registrant worked as an Analytical Biochemist at the Institute of Biologically Active Substances in Novosibirsk. Her research there involved the use of neuro-pharmacological drugs, methods of molecular biology and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (‘HPLC’). She was awarded a PhD in 1995, which was the same year that she came to the United Kingdom. In 1997, the Registrant and her husband opened a private laboratory now called The Taylor Galkina Laboratory Ltd in Bournemouth. This business was established for the Registrant to use her acquired knowledge of neuroscience and she chose urine as the medium to evaluate the activity of the nervous system.

17. The first contact from Patient X came in 2014, although he never met the Registrant in person. According to the Registrant, he was suffering from a number of complex health problems, including anxiety, depression and insomnia.

18. The Registrant conducted a HPLC test on a urine sample provided to her Patient X. This was followed by a urine analysis report dated 24 November 2015, which was sent to the Patient, who subsequently approached his General Practitioner. On the basis of the content of the Registrant’s report, Patient X was referred to EM, Consultant in inherited Metabolic Diseases at the University College London NHS Foundation Trust. As a result, EM assessed Patient X and conducted further tests on him, including a plasma test. EM was concerned about the Registrant’s actions in respect of her assessment of Patient X and consequently informed the Chair of the Federation of Clinical Scientists who subsequently reported the concerns to the HCPC.

19. The substantive hearing of the HCPC Allegation took place between 3 and 6 December 2018. It was determined, by the substantive hearing panel, that particulars 1(a), 1(c), 1(d), 1(e), 1(f), 2(a), 2(b), 2(c) and 2(d) were found proved and amounted to misconduct. However the substantive hearing panel did not find the facts in respect of particular 1(b) proved.

20. The substantive hearing panel determined that the Registrant was currently impaired and imposed a 9-month suspension order. The substantive hearing panel provided the following reasons for their decision:
“Although the panel accepts that the Registrant is well-meaning and has the best interests of her patients at heart, the results and the report of the urine analysis together with her emails had the potential to confuse Patient X with its provision of a significant amount of misleading information. Indeed, it may well have led to causing him anxiety and psychological harm.
When questioned, the Registrant’s evidence about her recent professional development was, at best, vague, and the Panel’s view is that the Registrant is not up to date with her Continuing Professional Development (‘CPD’). In this context, the Panel also judged that the Registrant is not familiar with current biomedical science practice and methodology.
In the view of the Panel, the Registrant’s evidence demonstrated that she was unclear and unconvincing about accreditation and quality assurance in respect of her laboratory.
Doubtless, these factors were a contributory cause to the Registrant’s inability to understand the proper limits to her scope of practice”.

21. In respect of its decision on impairment, the substantive hearing panel stated that the Registrant’s conduct was remediable although, for the Registrant to demonstrate remediation she would need to “recognise the error of her ways” and unless she did so, there was a high likelihood of repetition of her misconduct.

22. Further, in respect of the public component the substantive hearing panel found that to fail to find the misconduct of the Registrant as currently impaired, in light of its own findings, would have undermined confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.

23. When imposing the nine-month suspension order, the substantive hearing panel also made suggestions as to how a future review panel might be assisted. The substantive hearing panel’s suggestions were as follows:

(i) a reflective piece to address the identified failings – in particular, in relation to her scope of practice;

(ii) evidence of up to date CPD as a Biomedical Scientist which addresses failings identified by the Panel;

(iii) any up to date references and testimonials;

That panel also recommended that the Registrant should provide evidence that she has visited a diagnostic laboratory in order to acquaint herself with the standards adopted therein.

Submissions

24. Miss Senior submitted, on behalf of the HCPC, that the Registrant remained currently impaired and that the current Suspension Order should be replaced with a Strike-off Order.

25. She submitted that whilst the misconduct was not at the most serious end of the scale Registrant bore the persuasive burden in terms of satisfying the Panel that she had made progress in respect of the substantive hearing panel’s concerns. Ms Senior submitted that the Registrant had not provided any evidence of remediation, insight or up-to-date continuous professional development. Further, Ms Senior submitted that the Registrant had failed to engage in any meaningful way, in respect of the substantive hearing panel’s findings.

26. Ms Senior submitted that should the Panel not be in agreement that a Strike-off Order was necessary then a further period of suspension should be imposed.

27. The Registrant did not provide any submissions for the Panel to consider.
Panel’s approach

28. The Panel took into account the documents furnished to it by the HCPC and noted the comments made by the Registrant in her emails. The Panel had regard to the HCPC submissions.

29. The Panel considered the relevant Practice Note issued by the HCPTS, ‘Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’’, together with the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics and the HCPC’s Standards of Proficiency Biomedical Scientist in England.

30. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

Decision

31. In making its decision, the Panel had regard to both the personal and public elements of impairment.

32. The Panel carefully considered the additional evidence, pertaining to the Registrant’s Directorship of the Galkina Laboratory, placed before it by the HCPC. The HCPC’s submission in respect of the documents was that the Registrant may be continuing to practise despite being suspended.

33. The Panel was of the view that the information placed before it was extremely limited and inconclusive. The Panel was of the view that to place any weight on the documents relating to the Registrant practising whilst suspended, at the current time, and when the HCPC investigation had not yet commenced, would be prejudicial and unfair to the Registrant. Consequently, the Panel disregarded the additional evidence and placed no weight on the documents or the suggestion that the Registrant continues to practise whilst suspended at the current time.

34. In respect of the Suspension Order, the Panel found that there was a lack of information or evidence to satisfy it that the Registrant had taken any steps towards addressing the concerns found by the substantive hearing panel.

35. In particular, the Panel noted that the substantive hearing panel had indicated that the Registrant might provide up to date evidence of how she has developed and reflected on the identified failings and in particular her scope of practice. The Panel noted that the only engagement made by the Registrant, since the Suspension Order was imposed at the substantive hearing, was correspondence indicating that she would i) not be attending today’s review hearing and ii) expressing her views on the substantive review panel’s findings, which she did not accept.

36. The Panel also noted that the Registrant had failed to provide any evidence of up to date CPD as a Biomedical Scientist, focussing instead, on her criticism of the HCPC and its expert witnesses.

37. The Panel considered therefore that they could not be confident that the Registrant has the required insight or that she has remediated her failings and therefore could not be confident that the behaviour would not be repeated. The Panel is not satisfied that in all the circumstances the Registrant does not still pose a real and on-going risk to the public and that public confidence in the profession would not be undermined should the Registrant be permitted to return to unrestricted practice.

38. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired on both the public and personal components.

39. The Panel has borne in mind that sanction is a matter for its own independent judgment and that the purpose of a sanction is not to punish the Registrant but to protect the public. Further, that any sanction must be proportionate, so that any order must be the least restrictive order that would protect the public interest, including public protection.

40. The Panel considered the option of a Caution Order however, decided that it would not provide adequate protection for the public. It would not address the on going risk to the public identified by the substantive hearing panel.

41. The Panel next considered the option of replacing the existing Suspension Order with a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel considered this option carefully. It noted that the substantive hearing panel indicated, in its determination, that a Conditions of Practice Order was not appropriate owing to the Registrant running her own laboratory without supervision and that the substantive hearing panel was not satisfied that the Registrant would comply with any conditions imposed. Given that the Registrant had failed to provide any evidence of insight or remediation, or indicated whether she would comply with a conditions of practice order, the Panel determined that a conditions of practice order was not appropriate.

42. The Panel next considered extending the current Suspension Order versus imposing a Striking-off Order.

43. The Panel considered a Striking-off Order. Taking into account the Registrant’s personal family circumstances outlined in her recent emails requesting an adjournment, the Panel determined that a Striking-off Order would be disproportionate at the current time.

44. The Panel decided that in view of her personal circumstances during her period of suspension, the Registrant should be afforded a further opportunity to satisfy a future review panel that her fitness to practise is no longer impaired.

45. The Panel therefore decided that the appropriate and proportionate Order, at the current time, is to extend the current Suspension Order.

46. The Panel decided that the Suspension Order should be extended for a period of six months. This period would allow the Registrant a further opportunity, in view of her recent difficult personal circumstances, to reflect on her failings and to demonstrate remediation of her misconduct if she wishes to do so.

47. The Panel was cognisant of the fact that Registrant could apply for an early review of the Order if her circumstances allow her to demonstrate remediation before the expiry of the Suspension Order.

48. The Panel also considered that a review panel may be assisted by the following:

(i) her attendance at a future review hearing;

(ii) a written reflective piece addressing the identified failings – in particular in relation to her scope of practice;

(iii) evidence of up to date CPD as a Biomedical Scientist which addresses failings identified by the substantive hearing panel;

(iv) up to date references and testimonials; and

(v) evidence that she has visited a diagnostic laboratory in order to acquaint herself with the standards adopted therein.

49. The Panel also suggests that if the HCPC wish to rely on the documentation placed before this review Panel, in respect of the assertion that the Registrant is practising whilst suspended, that an investigation is commenced by the HCPC to ensure that it is discharging its statutory duty to protect the public.

 

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to suspend the Registration of Dr Olga V Taylor for a further 6 months from the date of the expiry of the current Order.

Notes

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 3 April 2020.

Right to Apply to the Court

Under Article 31(12) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, you may apply to the appropriate court to terminate the order.

European Alert Mechanism

In accordance with Regulation 67 of the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015, the HCPC will inform the competent authorities in all other EEA States that your right to practise has been prohibited.

You may appeal to the County Court against the HCPC’s decision to do so. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you. This right of appeal is separate from your right to appeal against the decision and order of the Panel.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Dr Olga V Taylor

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
30/08/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
03/12/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended