Miss Sutapa Halder

Profession: Speech and language therapist

Registration Number: SL28597

Hearing Type: Consent Order Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 04/02/2019 End: 17:00 04/02/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Whilst registered as a Speech and Language Therapist and employed with East London
NHS Foundation Trust, you:

1. In relation to Child A, on dates between 23 October 2014 and 16 September 2016:
a. Did not carry out and/or record all required appointments in relation to Child A;
b. Did not complete and/or record contemporaneous clinical progress notes;
c. Did not complete and/or record for Child A:
i. review reports;
ii. programmes reports.

2. In relation to Child B, on dates between 23 October 2014 and 16 September 2016, you:
a. Did not carry out and/or record required appointments in relation to Child B;
b. Did not complete and/or record contemporaneous clinical progress notes for Child B;
c. Did not complete and/or record for Child B:
i. review reports;
ii. programmes reports;
d. Did not upload the Speech and Language Therapy Targets report in a timely manner.

3. In relation to Child C, on dates between 08 March 2016 and 16 September 2016, you:
a. Did not carry out and/or record required appointments in relation to Child C;
b. Did not complete and/or record contemporaneous clinical progress notes for Child C;
c. Did not complete and/or record an initial assessment report for Child C;
d. Did not upload Child C’s Preschool CELF report in a timely manner.

4. In relation to Child D, on dates between 23 October 2014 and 01 September 2016 you:
a. Did not carry out and/or record all required appointments in relation to Child D;
b. Did not complete and/or record for Child D the required number of annual review reports.

5. In relation to Child E, on dates between 23 October 2014 and 01 September 2016 you:
a. Did not carry out and/or record all required appointments in relation to Child E;
b. Did not complete and/or record contemporaneous clinical progress notes for Child E;
c. Did not complete and/or record for Child E:
i. review reports;
ii. programmes reports.

6. The matters described at paragraphs 1 - 5 constitute misconduct and/or lack of
competence.

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

Finding

Preliminary Matters:

Service

1. The Panel is satisfied that good service has been effected.

Proceeding in Absence

2. On behalf of the HCPC, Ms Simpson invited the Panel to proceed to consider the disposal of this matter by way of a Consent Order in the absence of the Registrant. She submitted that the Registrant was aware of the date and time of this hearing and had voluntarily waived her right to be present or represented. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel considered that having regard to the purpose of this hearing, by her correspondence with the HCPC the Registrant had indicated that she wished this hearing to proceed in her absence. It was in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest that this matter proceeds.

Background: 

3. The Registrant was employed as a Band 5 Speech and Language Therapist by the East London NHS Foundation Trust (“the Trust”) from 1 October 2014 until 22 July 2016 when she resigned.

4. The Registrant was responsible for providing speech and language therapy to children between the ages of 4 and 11 with speech, language and communication needs.

5. During the course of her employment, concerns were raised by the Registrant’s supervisor about the Registrant’s clinical documentation and record keeping. These led to joint supervision arrangements for the Registrant and to additional support being provided for her. The Registrant was placed on a performance improvement plan which identified areas for improvement and applied measures to assist her.

6. Unfortunately, despite the measures put in place the Registrant’s difficulties with record keeping and the timely completion of clinical documents continued, and the Trust referred the Registrant to the HCPC.

7. A Panel of the Investigating Committee determined that the Registrant had a case to answer in relation to her fitness to practise. In a formal response to the allegation dated 27 September 2017 the Registrant stated that she had decided not to contest the allegation against her. She accepted that her fitness to practise was impaired and that she was not yet ready to return to practice as a Speech and Language Therapist. The Registrant requested a temporary voluntary removal from the register until she was well enough to re-apply in the future.

8. The allegation against the Registrant was amended at a preliminary hearing on 14 September 2018. The Registrant had an opportunity to consider the amended allegation and did not object to the proposed amendments.

9. The Registrant’s response letter to the original allegation set out relevant mitigating circumstances, which included ongoing health matters as well as significant pressures and difficulties in her personal life. The Registrant identified a number of measures she had taken to address her health issues. The Registrant also identified positive support mechanisms and coping strategies that she hoped would enable her to return to work as a Speech and Language Therapist in the future.

10. The Registrant sent further representations to the HCPC in which she confirmed her wish for a consensual disposal of this matter and provided further context to the difficulties that led to her referral to the HCPC. She informed the HCPC that since her resignation she had worked in Learning Support Assistant and Special Needs Assistant roles but had not sought work as a Speech and Language Therapist.

Decision:
 
11. On behalf of the HCPC Ms Simpson submitted that this is a case which is suitable for disposal by consent. She noted that the Registrant had admitted the allegation and that her fitness to practise is impaired. Ms Simpson submitted that this, together with the Registrant’s engagement and co-operation with the HCPC, demonstrated an appropriate level of insight.

12. Ms Simpson explained that the HCPC considered that given the serious failings which the Registrant has admitted, a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months would be the proportionate sanction in this case. Ms Simpson submitted that the Registrant could request an early review of the Order should there be a material change in her circumstances.

13. Before reaching its decision, the Panel considered the HCPTS practice note on ‘Disposal of Cases by Consent’ and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
 
14. The Panel considers that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired. The Registrant poses a risk to those who may need her services as a Speech and Language Therapist if she is permitted to practice without restriction. The failings which the Registrant has admitted cover multiple areas of practice and relate to the core skills required by a Speech and Language Therapist.

15. The Panel considered whether a lesser sanction might have been appropriate in this case. However, it noted that the Registrant was not working as a Speech and Language Therapist and did not wish to do so at the moment. In these circumstances the Panel concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order was neither verifiable nor workable.

16. Accordingly, the Panel is satisfied that a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months provides the necessary degree of public protection. The wider public interest is satisfied by the making of a Suspension Order. This is sufficient to uphold and declare proper standards. The absence of a public hearing in the circumstances of this case is not detrimental to the wider public interest.

17. The Panel is satisfied that it has been provided with an appropriately detailed explanation as to why this matter is suitable for disposal by consent on the terms of the draft consent order signed by the Registrant. It considers that this case is suitable for disposal by way of consent and therefore approves the proposed order.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register to show that for a period of 12 months the name of Miss Sutapa Halder is suspended from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Sutapa Halder

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
04/02/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Consent Order Hearing Suspended