Mrs Angela Bell

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW40541

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 19/08/2019 End: 17:00 22/08/2019

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service, 405 Kennington Road

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

Whilst employed as a Social Worker for Liverpool City Council, you:

1. Did not follow the legislative process under the Mental Capacity Act in relation to Service User A, when carrying out a Best Interests Assessment, in that you:

a) Did not consult any members of Service User A's family

b) Did not consult any other party involved with Service User A's care.

2. Falsified Service User A's records, namely the Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessment dated:

a) 6 September 2016, in that you:

i. stated that you had discussed long term care placement with Service User A's family.

ii. stated that Service User A's family had agreed to the long term placement.

b) 14 September 2016, in that you:

i. stated that you had discussed long term care placement with Service User A's family.

ii. stated that Service User A's family had agreed to the long term placement.

3. The actions in particular 2 amount to dishonesty.

4. The matter alleged in particular 1 constitutes misconduct and/or lack of competence.

5. The matters alleged in particulars 2 to 3 constitute misconduct.

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

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters:

Service

1.The Panel heard that notice in respect of this hearing was sent by first class post and email to the Registrant’s registered address on 26 April 2019 in accordance with Rules 3 and 6 of the Conduct and Competence Procedure Rules 2003 (the Rules).

2.The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and determined that the notice had been served in accordance with the Rules.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

3.Mr Lloyd, on behalf of the HCPC, invited the Panel to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. In the course of his submissions, he referred the Panel to the Registrant’s email to the HCPC dated 28 April 2019, two days after the date of the Notice of Hearing, in which the Registrant stated:

4.“I am not going to attend…I am NEVER GOING TO WORK AGAIN IN ANY CAPACITY. Do whatever you want I am past caring. All I can say that it’s a waste of time and energy having a hearing about me. Just take my name off the register and leave me alone. Stop drawing things out. I don’t wish to PRACTICE ever…Just leave me alone. Stop upsetting me.”

5.Mr Lloyd referred the Panel to the guidance contained in the HCPTS Practice Note on “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” and submitted that, in the circumstances, it was appropriate for the Panel to exercise its discretion to proceed on the basis that the Registrant had chosen not to attend the hearing and had waived her right to appear. He noted that the Registrant had not sought an adjournment but had made representations to which the Panel could refer if it proceeded with the hearing. Mr Lloyd submitted that the public interest in the expeditious disposal of the Allegation outweighed any disadvantage to the Registrant in proceeding in her absence and that no useful purpose would be served in adjourning the matter.

6.The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

7.The Panel was mindful that the discretion to proceed in the absence of a Registrant is one which must be exercised with the utmost care and caution and that its decision should be guided by the overarching objective to protect the public. In reaching its decision, the Panel had regard to the nature and circumstances of the Registrant’s behaviour in absenting herself. The Panel took the view that it was clear from the Registrant’s 28 April 2019 email to the HCPC that she was aware of the hearing and had determined not to attend. The Panel noted that the Registrant had not requested an adjournment but had made some representations in relation to the matters alleged and to the potential disposal of the case. The Panel considered this to be an indication that the Registrant expected the Panel to proceed with the hearing in her absence. The Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself and had waived her right to be present.

8.The Panel considered it was highly unlikely the Registrant would attend a future hearing. In the circumstances, the Panel concluded that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose and determined that the public interest would best be served by proceeding. For all these reasons, the Panel agreed to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

Hearing in Private

9.Mr Lloyd informed the Panel that proper exploration of the evidence in this case would involve reference to aspects of the Registrant’s private life. He submitted that those parts of the hearing should be heard in private in order to protect the private life of the Registrant.

10.The Panel had careful regard to Rule 10 (1) (a) of the Conduct and Competence Procedure Rules 2003 which provides:

“At any hearing the proceedings shall be held in public unless the Committee is satisfied that, in the interests of justice or for the protection of the private life of the registrant…or of any patient or client, the public should be excluded from all or part of the hearing.”

11.The Panel was satisfied that, for the protection of the Registrant’s right to a private life, the public should be excluded from those parts of the Hearing in which reference is made to the private life of the Registrant, and it so ordered.

Background

12.The Registrant is a qualified Social Worker who was working at Liverpool County Council (LCC) for approximately 25 years.

13.A complaint was made regarding the Registrant’s management of Service User A’s case by Service User A’s Daughter-in-law who alleged that the Registrant had failed to consult with the family before arranging a long-term placement for Service User A. Following an internal Disciplinary Investigation into the complaint, it was alleged that the Registrant  falsified the Mental Capacity and Best Interest Assessments completed for Service User A, on 6 and 14 September 2016, by recording in those documents that she had consulted the family and others involved with Service User A’s care.

Decision on Facts:

14.In considering the Particulars, the Panel was mindful that the burden of proving the facts is on the HCPC, that the Registrant is not required to prove anything and that any fact alleged is only to be found proved if the Panel is satisfied on the balance of probabilities.

15.In reaching its decision on the facts, the Panel has carefully considered all the documentary and oral evidence together with the written representations of the Registrant and the submissions of Mr Lloyd.

16.The documentary evidence before the Panel included:

·Written statements produced for these proceedings by MM, AT and RP
·Fitness to Practise Referral Form for Employers
·Letter to Registrant re Outcome of 31.01.18 Disciplinary Hearing
·Investigation Report
·02.12.16 Interview Notes of MT
·02.12.16 Interview Notes of HD
·15.12.16 Interview notes of the Registrant
·06.01.17 Interview Notes of DH
·13.01.17 Interview notes of MM
·Email from SU A’s Daughter-in-law re Placement for SU A
·Email from Registrant re queries relating to SU A
·06.09.16 Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessment of SU A
·14.09.16 Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessment of SU A
·Mental Capacity Act 2005 Chapter 2
·Mental Capacity Act 2005 Chapter 4

17.The Panel heard oral evidence from MM, who had been the Registrant’s Line Manager at LCC. The Panel found MM to be a fair and credible witness who, when faced with a question whose answer he did not know or could not recall, said so.

18.The Panel then heard oral evidence from AT, who had been MM’s Line Manager at the relevant time. The Panel found AT to be a credible and consistent witness who made concessions where appropriate.

19.Finally, the Panel heard evidence by way of video link from RP, who had conducted the Disciplinary Investigation on behalf of LCC. The Panel found her to be an impressive witness with good recollection of the events she recounted, who provided the Panel with helpful information concerning the requirements for Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessments.

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

Particular 1(a) and (b) – Found Proved

Whilst employed as a Social Worker for Liverpool City Council, you:

Did not follow the legislative process under the Mental Capacity Act in relation to Service User A, when carrying out a Best Interests Assessment, in that you:

a)Did not consult any members of Service User A’s family

b)Did not consult any other party involved with Service User A’s care.

21.In addressing Particular 1, the Panel decided to first consider whether it was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Registrant did not consult the parties listed in Sub-particulars a) and/or b); and if it was so satisfied, to go on to consider whether this meant that the Registrant did not follow the legislative process as alleged.

22.MM, the Registrant’s Line Manager, told the Panel that he had assigned the Registrant to the task of assessing Service User A who had been in a 21 day health funded placement. He stated: “I asked [the Registrant] to visit Service User A at the care home to take account of her wishes and assess her needs…[The Registrant’s] Mental Capacity and Best Interest Assessments for Service User A were submitted to me for approval and during my review of the assessments I do not recall anything about the case standing out to me as a cause for concern over [the Registrant’s] conduct of the case.”

23.AT, MM’s Line Manager, told the Panel that she had been copied in to an email dated 1 November 2016 from Service User A’s daughter-in-law to the Registrant complaining that the Registrant had caused Service User A to be subject to a permanent placement in a long term care home without first consulting Servicer User A’s family. The Panel had careful regard to the email and satisfied itself that it contained a complaint from Service User A’s daughter-in-law that: “we should have been contacted and be involved in the decision making about our mothers long term needs.”

24.AT told the Panel: “I looked on the LCC internal records system, Liquid Logic , and there was no record of any of [sic] consultations taking place in the case notes, therefore it was hard for me to determine what [the Registrant] had or had not done on Service User A’s case…I would have expected records of [the Registrant’s] conversations with the family, care home staff, doctors and other care givers for Service User A to be on the record. Any conversations with the family of Service User A should have been recorded on the system and there was no evidence of this. This indicated that [the Registrant] had not involved the family, or others, in the recent decision-making process for the permanent long-term placement of Service User A.”

25.AT told the Panel that HD had informed her that the Registrant had confirmed that “she had in fact not spoken with Service User A’s family.”

26.In addition, AT told the Panel that on 7 November 2016 she had spoken to Service User A’s daughter-in-law, who had confirmed that she had not spoken with the Registrant prior to the decision being made in relation to Service User A’s permanent placement.

27.RP, who conducted the disciplinary investigation on behalf of LCC, told the Panel that she had conducted an investigatory interview with the Registrant on 15 December 2016. She said: “I asked her to explain to me what she did after being allocated Service User A’s case. [The Registrant] told me that she read the notes on Service User A’s record and there was a note from the hospital that Service User A’s family had stated that if Service user A was settled she should not be moved.” RP said the Registrant stated that MM had told her to conduct a re-assessment for Service User A, and that when she did so the Care Home Manager had been present and told her that she had received a call from Service User A’s daughter-in-law agreeing that Service User A required long-term care.

28.RP said she had asked the Registrant if she had contacted Service User A’s family, and the Registrant had stated that she had not done so as the family was out of the country at the time. RP said: “At this stage in the interview, [the Registrant] became distressed and told me how she felt overwhelmed with her caseload and had felt this way between August 2016 and October 2016, before which she had been off work…”

29.The Panel had careful regard to the notes of the Registrant’s disciplinary interview and satisfied itself that it contained the information set out above.

30.The Panel also had regard to the Registrant’s 28 April 2019 email to the HCPC in which she stated: “I made a mistake and got mixed up and I stated that I had talked to the family when I had not.”

31.The Panel received no evidence to support the Registrant’s assertion  that when she re-assessed Service User A the Care Home Manager had been present, and it found no record of the Care Home expressing its own views during the assessment. Further, the Panel found no record beyond the entries in the assessment forms to support the assertion that the Registrant had consulted Service User A’s daughter-in-law, son or Consultant. In the absence of such supporting evidence the Panel was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Registrant had not consulted them.

32.In the circumstances set out above, the Panel was satisfied that, as alleged at Particular 1 a) and b), the Registrant did not consult with any members of Service User A’s family or any other party involved with Service User A’s care. The Panel then considered whether, in not consulting with any of the parties as alleged, the Registrant did not follow the legislative process under the Mental Capacity Act in relation to Service User A when carrying out a Best Interests Assessment.

33.The Panel had careful regard to Chapters 2 and 4 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and to AT’s evidence that Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessments “should involve consultation with family members, care givers, and doctors.” In addition, there should also be “discussions with the service user, regardless of concerns over their capacity and understanding, as they may have insight and the ability to express their wishes.”   AT referred the Panel to the Best Interests Checklist set out at the end of Chapter 2 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Panel noted that this provides a list of persons who should be consulted by the “person trying to work out the best interests of a person who lacks capacity.” This includes, but is not limited to, “close relatives, friends or others who take an interest in the person’s welfare”, and “anyone engaged in caring for the person.” AT told the Panel that the checklist is “mandatory”.

34.The Panel also had careful regard to the evidence of RP as to the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act in relation to Mental Capacity and Best Interest Assessments. The Panel was satisfied that in not consulting any members of Service User A’s family and in not consulting any other party involved with Service User A’s care, the Registrant did not follow the legislative process as alleged.  Accordingly, the Panel found Particular 1 proved in its entirety.

Particular 2(a) i. and 2(b) i. & ii. – Found Proved

Particular 2(a) ii - Not Found Proved

Whilst employed as a Social Worker for Liverpool City Council, you:

Falsified Service user A’s records, namely the Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessment dated:

a) 6 September 2016, in that you:

i.Stated that you had discussed long term care placement with Service User A’s family.

ii.Stated that Service User A’s family had agreed to the long term placement.

b) 14 September 2016, in that you:

i.Stated that you had discussed long term care placement with Service User A’s family.

ii.Stated that Service User A’s family had agreed to the long term placement.

35.In addressing Particular 2, the Panel decided to first consider whether it was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Registrant had stated what she was alleged to have stated in each of the Sub-particulars, and where it was so satisfied, to go on to consider whether this meant that the Registrant had falsified Service User A’s records as alleged.

36.In relation to the allegation that the Registrant stated that she had discussed long term care placement with Service User A’s family, the Panel had careful regard to Service User A’s Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessments dated 6 and 14 September 2016. It was satisfied that both record that the Registrant had discussed long term placement options with Service User A as follows:

i.“I have met with Service User A and discussed the relevant information with her. I have also discussed it with her daughter-in-law…”

ii.“By involving Service User A’s family I have tried to consider her beliefs and values that would influence her decision if she had capacity.”

iii.“By meeting with Service User A and her family I have tried to consider all the circumstances that she would have taken into account if she were able to.”

iv.Under the heading ‘Consultation with others’ the Registrant listed “Service User A’s daughter-in-law” and “Service User A’s son” and, in respect of ‘Anyone engaged in caring for the service user’, listed “Consultant”.

37.In relation to the allegation that the Registrant stated that Service User A’s family had agreed to the long term placement, the Panel had careful regard to Service User A’s Mental Capacity and Best Interests Assessments dated 6 and 14 September 2016. It was satisfied that in the 14 September 2016 Assessment the Registrant stated: “Her son and his Wife are in agreement with this decision to place her Long Term in [name of care home].” However, it found no such entry in the 6 September 2016 Assessment.

38.In light of its findings in relation to Sub-particular 1(a) and to what the Registrant had stated in the Assessments, the Panel found that the Registrant had falsified Service User A’s records as alleged at 2(a) i and 2(b) i & ii but not 2(a) ii.

Particular 3 - Found Proved

The actions in particular 2 amount to dishonesty.

39.Having found that the Registrant had falsified Service User A’s 6 September 2016 Assessment in that she stated that she had discussed long term care placement with Service User A’s family, and having also found that she had falsified Service User A’s 14 September 2016 Assessment in that she stated that she had discussed long term care placement with Service User A’s family and that Service User A’s family had agreed to the long term placement, the Panel considered whether the Registrant had been dishonest in doing so. To this end, the Panel had careful regard to the guidance provided in the case of Ivey v Genting Casinos [2017] UKSC 67.

40.In considering why the Registrant had acted as she did, the Panel noted that the Registrant had put forward two different explanations for her actions. First, she told Service User A’s daughter-in-law and HD that she had not be able to contact Service User A’s daughter-in-law who was in Spain at the time, as she was not permitted to call Spain. Here, the Panel noted the evidence of AT that on 7 November 2016 HD: “told me that she had spoken with the Registrant who had confirmed that she had not spoken with the family while they were in Spain. The family had contacted social services before travelling to Spain and the dates of their trip to Spain was recorded on Liquid Logic and a note of a mobile number to contact them in Spain, therefore it was unclear why [the Registrant] had not contacted them.”

41.However, when asked in interview by RP why she had not contacted Service User A’s daughter-in-law by telephone, the Registrant is reported to have said that she “considered calling…but did not due to her workload.”

42.In the Panel’s view the two explanations are not consistent with each other. Further, the Panel noted that although parts of the 6 September 2016 Assessment appeared to have been cut and pasted into the 14 September 2016 Assessment, there are differences between the two Assessments which indicate that the Registrant had considered what she wished to put in the 14 September Assessment and had not simply copied and pasted the 6 September Assessment into the 14 September document. As a consequence, the Panel concluded that where there was falsification in the Assessments, the Registrant had acted deliberately, with an intention to mislead.

43.In the Panel’s judgment, ordinary, decent people provided with the information that had been put before the Panel, would conclude that the Registrant’s actions found proved in Particular 2 amount to dishonesty.

Decision on Grounds:

44.Having made its findings on the facts, the Panel went on to consider whether the matters found proved constituted misconduct and / or lack of competence. In this regard, the Panel had careful regard to the oral and written submissions of Mr Lloyd and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was mindful that it must exercise its own independent judgement in reaching a decision on statutory grounds and impairment.

45.In relation to lack of competence, Mr Lloyd referred the Panel to the cases of Calhaem v GMC [2017] and Holton v GMC [2006]. He submitted that it would be open to the Panel to find that the facts found proved at Particular 1 demonstrate a lack of competence.

46.In considering lack of competence, the Panel took account of the fact that the matters found proved related to two Best Interests Assessments dated within a nine day period concerning a single service user. The Panel concluded that this did not represent a fair sample of the Registrant’s work. For this reason, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s failings in relation to Particular 1 did not constitute lack of competence.

47.In relation to misconduct, Mr Lloyd invited the Panel to have regard to the 2016 edition of the HCPC “Standards of conduct, performance and ethics”. He referred the Panel to the case of Roylance v GMC (No 2). He submitted that the failings of the Registrant found by the Panel were serious and amounted to misconduct.

48.The Panel was mindful that misconduct involves a falling short of the professional standards that would be proper in the circumstances. It considered that the Registrant had repeatedly fallen below the standards to be expected of a registered Social Worker and had breached the following standards as set out in the 2016 edition of the HCPC “Standards of conduct, performance and ethics”:

Standard 1.2 – You must work in partnership with service users and carers, involving them, where appropriate, in decisions about the care, treatment or other services to be provided.

Standard 1.4 –You must make sure that you have consent from service users or other appropriate authority before you provide care, treatment or other services.

Standard 2.2 – You must listen to service users and carers and take account of their needs and wishes.

Standard 2.3 – You must give service users and carers the information they want or need, in a way they can understand.

Standard 9.1 – You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.

Standard 10.1 – You must keep full, clear, and accurate records for everyone you care for, treat, or provide other services to.

Standard 10.2 – You must complete all records promptly and as soon as possible after providing care, treatment or other services.

49.The Panel considered the Registrant’s failings in light of her considerable training and long experience as a registered Social Worker, and in light of the issues affecting her health and well-being at the time. It was the Registrant’s role to ensure that the views of all relevant parties were considered in relation to the needs of Service User A. Her failure to do so seriously compromised the interests of a highly vulnerable servicer user and her family. The Panel had no doubt that the Registrant’s failings in regard to Service User A, which included dishonest falsification of Service User A’s records, amounted to a serious departure from proper professional standards which was so serious as to raise the issue of the Registrant’s fitness to practise.

50.In all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s failings in relation to the matters found proved constitute misconduct going to her fitness to practise.

Decision on Impairment:

51.The Panel then went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of her misconduct. It had careful regard to all the evidence before it and to the submissions of Mr Lloyd. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had particular regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’.”

52.Although the Panel had not had the benefit of hearing from the Registrant in person, it had particular regard to the Registrant’s email to HD dated 2 November 2019, setting out her account of matters. The Panel also had careful regard to the written representations contained in the Registrant’s 28 April 2019 email to the HCPC.

53.The Panel first considered the personal component of impairment. In assessing the likelihood of repetition, the Panel had particular regard to the issues of insight and remediation. The Panel was concerned that the information available to it demonstrated an absence of insight. In particular, at her investigation interview and in her email to the HCPC, the Registrant made no mention of the impact of her failings on Service User A and her family, on her own colleagues at LCC or on LCC itself and the Social Work profession.  Further, the Panel was provided with no evidence of remediation; although it recognised that, given its finding of dishonesty, remediation would not be easy. In all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that, were the Registrant to work as a Social Worker again, there would be a high risk of repetition of misconduct of the kind found in this case.

54.The Panel then went on to consider the public component of impairment. The Panel had careful regard to the important public policy issues identified by Silber J in the case of Cohen v GMC [2008]:

“Any approach to the issue of whether .... fitness to practise should be regarded as ‘impaired’ must take account of ‘the need to protect the individual patient, and the collective need to maintain confidence in the profession as well as declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour.”

55.The Panel asked itself whether the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in the particular circumstances of this case. The Panel had no doubt that it would. Undertaking and recording honest and accurate assessments in accordance with the appropriate legislative process is a fundamental requirement of the Social Work profession, and in the Panel’s view, the public would be shocked to learn of the Registrant’s failings in this case.
 
56.For all the reasons set out above, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.

Decision on Sanction:

57.The Panel next considered what, if any, sanction to impose on the Registrant’s registration. It had careful regard to all the evidence put before it and to the submissions of Mr Lloyd and the email dated 28 April 2019 from the Registrant to the HCPC. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

58.Mr Lloyd drew the Panel’s attention to the HCPC’s “Sanctions Policy” and submitted that sanction is a matter for the Panel’s own independent judgment.

59.In reaching its decision the Panel has taken into account the principle of proportionality and the need to balance the competing interests of the Registrant with the overriding objective to protect the public.

60.In reaching its decision, the Panel had regard to all the circumstances, and considered the weight it should attach to the following aggravating and mitigating factors in the case:

Aggravating Factors

•The Registrant’s misconduct had involved dishonesty on two occasions;

•A vulnerable service user had been exposed to unwarranted risk of harm;

•The Registrant’s lack of insight and remediation;

•The high risk of repetition.

Mitigating Factors

•The Registrant had been experiencing health concerns;

•The Registrant had worked as a Social Worker for 24 years, during which time there had been no regulatory concerns about her;

•The Registrant admitted her wrongdoings to her employer.

61.The Panel first considered whether it would be appropriate to impose no sanction in this case. It gave careful regard to Paragraphs 97 and 98 of the Sanctions Policy. The Panel noted its earlier findings that the Registrant has demonstrated a lack of insight and remediation and that there is a high risk of repetition of misconduct. In those circumstances, the Panel concluded that the imposition of no sanction would neither protect the public nor serve the wider public interest in maintaining confidence and declaring and upholding proper standards. In the Panel’s view, such a course would be wholly inappropriate.

62.The Panel next considered the imposition of a Caution Order. It gave careful regard to the factors set out in paragraphs 99 – 104 of the Sanctions Policy. The Panel considered its findings that:

•The misconduct was serious;

•The misconduct was isolated in that it occurred in relation to a single service user over a relatively short period of time;

•There is a high risk of repetition;

•The Registrant has demonstrated no insight into the seriousness of the risks to which she exposed Service User A and her family;

• The Panel has received no evidence of remediation.

63.In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that such an order would be neither appropriate nor sufficient.

64.The Panel then considered the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order. It gave careful regard to Paragraphs 105 -115 of the “Sanctions Policy”. The Panel considered its findings that the Registrant lacks insight and has not remediated her misconduct. In addition, the Panel considered that conditions would not address the findings of dishonesty. In the circumstances, the Panel was unable to formulate conditions which would adequately protect the public and serve the public interest.

65.The Registrant has indicated that she has ceased to practise as a Social Worker and does not wish to return to work. In these circumstances, the Panel had particular regard to Paragraph 107 of the “Sanctions Policy” which states: “Conditions will only be effective in cases where the registrant is genuinely committed to resolving the concerns raised and the panel is confident they will do so.”  In the Panel’s view, this is not such a case.

66.For all these reasons, the Panel determined that a Conditions of Practice Order is neither sufficient nor appropriate.

67.The Panel went on to consider the imposition of a Suspension Order. It had careful regard to Paragraphs 118-126 of the Sanctions Policy. The Panel considered its findings that the Registrant lacks insight and that there is a high risk of repetition. It noted that it has received no evidence to suggest that the Registrant is likely to be willing or able to resolve her failings. Further, in light of the Registrant’s clearly expressed decision not to seek to return to practice, and equally clear desire for involvement with her regulator to cease, the Panel concluded that a Suspension order would be inappropriate.

68.Before reaching a final decision on Sanction, the Panel had careful regard to Paragraphs 127-132 of the Sanctions Policy. It recognised that a Striking Off Order is the sanction of last resort. However, in light of the findings of dishonesty, lack of insight and remediation, together with the Registrant’s unwillingness to seek to remedy her failings and her clear wish to disengage from the process, the Panel concluded that a Striking Off Order is the only appropriate and proportionate Sanction in this case. Nothing less would be sufficient to protect the public, public confidence in the profession, and public confidence in the regulatory process.

69.For this reason, the Panel determined to impose a Striking Off Order.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mrs Angela Bell from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Angela Bell

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
19/08/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off