Ms Rachael Thompson
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Your fitness to practise as a Physiotherapist is impaired by reason of your health.
Facts proved: Yes
Facts not proved: Not Applicable
1. The Registrant was neither present nor represented at today’s hearing (15 February 2019). In her absence, the Panel first considered whether the notice had been served on her in accordance with the Rules.
2. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was provided with proof of posting documentation. From this it was satisfied that a copy of the notice, dated 16 January 2019 was sent to the Registrant’s registered address by first class post. The notice contained the required particulars and was sent more than 28 days in advance of the hearing, as required by the Rules. In all the circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that the notice had been served in accordance with the Rules.
Proceed in Absence
3. Ms Dyas, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that the Panel’s discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence should be exercised with the utmost care and caution.
4. Ms Dyas went through the chronology of attempted contact with the Registrant since the substantive hearing in February 2018. On 3 October 2018, the HCPC wrote to the Registrant to remind her that the Order would be reviewed before its expiry, and drawing her attention to the suggestions of the substantive panel of what may assist a reviewing panel. On 16 January 2019, the notice of the hearing was sent to her by first class post and email. On 5 February 2019, an email was sent to the Registrant reminding her of the scheduled review date, and inquiring whether she would be attending in person, or would wish to attend via the telephone. The email of 5 February was also copied to the Registrant’s mother, the Registrant having previously indicated that her mother would represent her. On 14 February 2019, an attempt to contact the Registrant’s mother by telephone was unsuccessful. On 14 February 2019, an email was also sent to the Registrant’s mother. No response has been received from either the Registrant or her mother to these communications.
5. The Panel was satisfied that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s registered address by letter, dated 16 January 2019. No communications have been received from the Registrant since the substantive hearing in February 2018. She has not applied for an adjournment of this hearing, and the Panel had no reason to expect that an adjournment would secure the Registrant’s attendance in light of her non-engagement throughout the proceedings.
6. The Panel was satisfied that the HCPC had fulfilled its obligations and taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice of the hearing on the Registrant. Further, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been provided with the means of knowledge as to when and where this review hearing was to take place, but had decided not to attend.
7. The Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily waived her right to attend. It was satisfied that she was or ought to be aware of when and where the hearing was taking place and no request for an adjournment had been sought. This is a mandatory review of an Order currently in place, which prevents the Registrant from working as a Physiotherapist for health reasons. The Panel was of the view that it was important for the matter to be heard expeditiously. In all the circumstances, the Panel determined to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
Application to proceed in private
8. Ms Dyas, on behalf of the HCPC, made an application for the hearing to be conducted in private under Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health Committee (Procedure) Rules 2003, which states:
‘The proceedings shall be heard in public unless the Committee is satisfied that, in the interests of justice or for the protection of the private life of the registrant…the public should be excluded from all or part of the hearing;’
9. Ms Dyas applied for the entirety of the hearing to be heard in private, on the basis that the Panel was sitting as a panel of the Health Committee and that all matters essentially concerned the Registrant’s health.
10. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It had regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note: Conducting Hearings in Private. The Panel was of the view that the case almost exclusively related to matters concerning the Registrant’s health, and as such it was not appropriate for such matters to be aired in public. It was, therefore, satisfied that it was justified to hear the entirety of the case in private
ORDER: The Registrar is directed to further suspend the registration of Ms Rachael Thompson for a period of 12 months upon the expiry of the current Order.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 28 March 2020.
History of Hearings for Ms Rachael Thompson
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|15/02/2019||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|27/02/2018||Health Committee||Final Hearing||Suspended|