Mr Nicholas A Mitchell

Profession:

Registration Number: BS32171

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 01/02/2019 End: 17:00 01/02/2019

Location: Novotel Glasgow Centre 181 Pitt Street, Glasgow, G2 4DT,

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: No further action

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Allegation

During the course of your employment as a management level Biomedical Scientist with Dumfries and Galloway NHS Trust:

1. On or around 26 January 2010, you:

a) raised your voice at staff. Not Proved

b) ripped information from items and/or the walls of the department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion.Proved

c) moved and/or threw centrifuges around the benches in an aggressive manner.Proved

2. In or around June 2015, whilst in the Blood Bank, when referring to a colleague and/or colleagues said "am I talking a foreign language?! or am I working with a bunch of fucking thickos?!" or words to that effect.Proved

3. On an unknown date or dates made comments about Colleague B’s footwear, in that you:

a) described Colleague B’s high-heeled shoes as "‘sexy’";Proved

b) said that you liked long boots and things like that because you were "‘a

pervert’", or words to that effect;Proved

c) referred to Colleague B’s flat shoes as ‘lesbo’ shoes’, or words to that effect.Proved

4.On or around 13 December 2014, sent a text message to Colleague B regarding her relationship status;Proved

5. On 5 May 2012, sent a text message to Colleague B describing a colleague as ‘a fukin lying arse wipe shite as far as I am concerned’;Proved

6. In or around January 2015 discussed with Colleague C personal information about Colleague B’s relationship status and/or sexual behaviour.Proved

7. On or around 15 January 2015, when referring to Colleague B asked Colleague H "‘what’s her fucking problem?’", or words to that effect.Proved

8. On 22nd January 2015 telephoned Colleague B and said "So we’ll be seeing you in work this morning won’t we" or words to that effect, despite Colleague B reporting to the Registrant that she was unfit for work and Colleague B having already called the laboratory to say she would not be coming in.Proved

9. On an unknown date or dates referred to having a ‘hit list’ of colleagues.Proved

10 On or around 20 August 2015, in Colleague D's presence:

i. swore;Proved

ii. acted in a threatening and/or aggressive manner;Proved

iii) made derogatory comments about clinical and management staff.Proved

3

11) On 26 August 2015 inappropriately confronted and blamed and/or

criticised colleagues.Proved

12) On an unknown date, in the presence of Colleague D, threatened to slash

Colleague C’s tyres.Proved

13) On an unknown date, referred to Colleague F as "‘a bitch’" in the presence of Colleague D.Proved

14). In 2014, asked Colleague A to sign off your competency log, although you knew that Colleague A had not witnessed your competencies.Proved

15). The actions described in particular 14 is are dishonest.Proved

16. Your conduct towards colleagues as described in particulars 1 and/or 2 and/or 3 and/or 4 and/or 5 and/or 6 and/or 7 and/or 8 and/or 9 and/or 10 and/or 12 and/or 13 was inappropriate.Proved

17. The matters described in particulars 1 to 16 constitute misconduct.

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

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters:

Service and Proceeding in Absence

1. The Panel was satisfied that notice of today’s hearing had been properly served on the Registrant in terms of rules 3 and 6 of the Conduct and Competence Committee Procedure Rules. The Panel also had sight of a letter from the Registrant dated 23 January 2019 and emails dated 24 and 28 January 2019 in which he confirmed that he would not be able to attend today’s hearing. The Panel thereafter considered Mr Mason’s application to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel is aware that the discretion to proceed in absence is one which should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. The Registrant declined the offer of participating in the hearing by telephone and has not asked for an adjournment of today’s hearing and the Panel has no reason to believe that he would attend at a future date if the matter were adjourned. The Registrant has also produced information on his current circumstances to assist the Panel. The Panel has therefore concluded that in all of these circumstances it is both in the Registrant’s interest and in the public interest to proceed with this mandatory review in the Registrant’s absence.

Background:

2. On 2 February 2018, a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his misconduct. At the time of the allegations, the Registrant, a Biomedical Scientist, was employed as a senior manager in the Haematology and Blood Transfusion Department at Dumfries and Galloway NHS Trust Royal Infirmary. The original panel found that the Registrant had behaved inappropriately towards Colleagues A, B, C and D and engaged in intimidating, discriminatory and offensive behaviour in the workplace on a number of occasions as set out in the allegation above and had acted dishonestly by asking Colleague A to sign off his competency log although he knew that she had not witnessed his competencies.

3. That panel imposed a twelve month Suspension Order.

Today’s Hearing:

4. The Panel today is conducting a review of that Suspension Order in terms of Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

5. The Panel heard from Mr Mason who referred to the background of the case and the circumstances which led to the imposition of the Suspension Order. He also made reference to the documentation submitted by the Registrant and advised that it was a matter for the Panel to determine if the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and that the HCPC position was neutral.

6. The Panel considered the Registrant’s written representations which included a reflective statement and details of CPD he had undertaken which included courses on Conflict Management, Stress Management and Change Management. The Registrant had also submitted positive references from colleagues and from his manager, all of whom were aware of the allegation.

Decision:

7. The task of the Panel today is not to go behind the decision of the previous panel but to determine whether or not the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired and if there is current impairment, what, if any, order should be made when the current order expires. The Panel has considered the submissions of Mr Mason and the information from the Registrant together with the advice of the Legal Assessor. The original panel found that there was no evidence that the Registrant had meaningfully reflected on his actions or acknowledged his wrongdoing and that he lacked insight. However that panel acknowledged that the Registrant had expressed remorse over some of his actions and was of the view that the Registrant could remediate and develop insight into his behaviour.

8. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired. In reaching this decision, the Panel has considered both the personal component and the public component. The previous panel found that the Registrant had not fully remediated his failings. The Panel acknowledges that, in his reflective statement dated 23 January 2019, the Registrant has accepted that his conduct was not in keeping with the professional standards expected of him, has expressed regret for the impact of his conduct on his colleagues and has demonstrated insight into his failings. He has also expressed his commitment to change by undertaking personal improvement courses and has provided evidence of the courses which he has attended.  The Panel is of the view that he has attended appropriate training courses to address the issues giving rise to the allegation and has maintained his CPD. In addition the Panel has taken account of the positive references from colleagues in the Finance Directorate of NHS Dumfries and Galloway where the Registrant is currently employed as a Manager. The Panel has also considered the matter of dishonesty found proved. The Panel acknowledges that it is difficult for any Registrant to provide evidence of remediation in respect of dishonesty. The Panel has taken account of the fact that this was a one off incident of dishonesty in the Registrant’s career spanning 35 years. The Panel has also taken account of the references from colleagues in the Finance Directorate, attesting to his professionalism. The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Registrant has fully addressed the personal component of his conduct.

9. The Panel has also considered the wider public interest considerations which include the need to protect patients, to declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and to maintain public confidence in the profession. The Panel has concluded that these have been served by the imposition of the 12 month Suspension Order. The Panel is also of the view that the public interest would be better served by allowing a very experienced Biomedical Scientist to return to practice, should he wish to do so.

10. The Panel has therefore concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is no longer impaired and the current order will therefore lapse upon its expiry on 2 March 2019.

 

Order

No information currently available

Notes

Review hearing of the conduct and competence committee to take place at Novotel Glasgow Hotel on Friday 1st February 2019 at 10:00am.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Nicholas A Mitchell

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
01/02/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action
29/01/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended