Mr Nassar Mohammed Khan

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW28356

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 14/01/2019 End: 17:00 18/01/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation


Whilst registered as a Social Worker and employed by Newcastle City Council, you:
1. In relation to Service User A, cared for by Service User B, you did not:
a. On or around 22 September 2016, identify a safeguarding concern and / or initiate a Safeguarding Adults Initial Enquiry in relation to Service User A;
b. On or around 14 October 2016, identify a safeguarding concern and / or initiate a Safeguarding Adults Assessment in relation to Service User A;
c. On or around 1 December 2016, record Service User B's disclosure of harming Service User A as a safeguarding concern and / or initiate a Safeguarding Adults Initial Enquiry in relation to Service User A;
d. Complete and / or upload the DP3 documentation in respect of the Carers Support Allocation.
2. In relation to Service User C, you did not:
a. Complete a Carers Assessment until approximately 1 August 2016, despite the case being allocated to you on 24 March 2016;
b. Print out and / or post and / or send the Carers Assessment and Support Plan to Service User C;
3. In relation to Service User D, you did not:
a. On or around 14 November 2016, take action and / or report a safeguarding concern that Service User D had not been given her 8am medication;
b. In December 2016, take action and / or report a safeguarding concern that Service User D's residential home had opened and / or taken her Christmas presents;
c. Between 28 December 2016 and 12 January 2017, visit Service User D, despite a number of requests from her residential home.
4. In relation to Service User E, you:
a. Following a safeguarding referral allocated to you on 2 June 2016, did not:
i. gather information to open the Stage 2 safeguarding form and contact other professionals, without direct instruction and prompts from Colleague A;
ii. complete the Stage 2 safeguarding form in a timely manner;
b. Following a safeguarding referral received on 14 December 2016, did not complete the referral in a timely manner;
5. In relation to Service User F, a case allocated to you on 24 August 2016, you:
a. Were dismissive towards other professionals who had identified concerns relating to risk to Service User F;
b. In a telephone conversation with another professional, Colleague B, you were abrupt and said 'it's not up to you to make decisions' or words to that effect;
c. Unnecessarily requested written evidence of the risks to Service User F;
d. Compromised Service User F's autonomy by asking his daughter to answer the assessment questions;
e. On or around 5 September 2016, did not act on recommendations to increase provision for showering of Service User F and other personal care tasks;
f. On or around 5 September 2016, did not act on a recommendation from Occupational Health to arrange regular disposal of Service User F's colostomy bags;
g. Did not update the care plan to include the recommendation set out in Particular 5(e);
h. By 2 December 2016, had not provided a copy of the care plan to Service User F's family;
i. Did not make an application for day care in a timely manner which delayed the discharge of Service User F from day hospital;
6. The matters described at Particulars 1 to 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 Notice of today’s hearing was sent to the Registrant at his address in the register on 11 September 2018 by first class post and by email. The Notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing. The Panel had sight of a signed Proof of Service certificate confirming the sending of the Notice of Hearing on 11 September 2018 to the Registrant’s address held by the HCPC. The Panel was satisfied that service had been effected in accordance with the HCPC (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant

2. The Registrant did not appear. However, a communication was produced dated 28 August 2018 from his former representative in these proceedings, UNISON, to the HCPC. This communication enclosed a copy of a letter dated 9 May 2018 from UNISON to the Registrant which stated, “You have again confirmed that you will not attend the hearing, and you do not wish to present any further evidence for the conduct and competence panel hearing. On this basis UNISON will not engage the HCPC on this matter.” The Panel also had sight of the Registrant’s formal Response to the Notice of Allegation document of 17 April 2018 in which he indicated that he did not intend to attend the hearing or be represented at it. The Registrant had also submitted a document called “Report to HCPC” which was received on 11 May 2018 and contained his response to the allegations. There had been no communication from the Registrant with the HCPC since that date.

3. Ms Manning-Rees, on behalf of the HCPC, submitted that the Registrant knew about the hearing, had waived his right to attend and that it was in the public interest to proceed in his absence.

4. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel referred to the HCPTS Practice Note of September 2018 on proceeding in absence and to the guidance that a hearing panel should consider as provided by the cases of R v Jones (Anthony) [2004] 1 AC 1HL and GMC v Adeogba [2016] EWCA Civ 162. Applying that guidance, the Panel was careful to remember that its discretion to proceed in absence is not unfettered and must be exercised with the utmost care and caution, and with the fairness of the hearing at the forefront of its mind.

5. The Notice of Hearing dated 11 September 2018 informed the Registrant of the date and details of the Conduct and Competence Committee hearing, and of his right to attend and be represented. He was also advised of the Panel’s power to proceed with the hearing in his absence if he did not attend and of how he could apply for an adjournment of the hearing. The Registrant was informed of the sanction powers available to the Panel, should it find his fitness to practise to be currently impaired.

6. The Registrant had not responded to the Notice of Hearing and had not communicated with the HCPC or Kingsley Napley Solicitors, acting for the HCPC. No request for an adjournment had been received, nor was there any indication that the Registrant wished to attend the hearing but was unable to do so. There was no suggestion that he had sought to instruct a different representative.

7. Taking all the above circumstances into account, the Panel concluded that the Registrant had not engaged with the HCPC process since May 2018 in relation to this hearing. It was unlikely in all the circumstances that an adjournment would secure his attendance on a future date. The Panel took the view that the Registrant had voluntarily waived his right to attend and that adjourning this hearing would serve no purpose.

8. The Panel was mindful that it must also consider fairness to the HCPC, whose case was ready to proceed today. The HCPC’s two witnesses were present and ready to give evidence. The Panel took account of the public interest in the expeditious resolution of regulatory allegations, the fact that the allegations in this case are more than two years old and the impact of cost and delay caused by an adjournment upon other cases. Following the guidance in the case of Adeogba, given that there was no good reason to adjourn the hearing, the Panel decided it was in the public interest to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

9. The Panel considered that there was some disadvantage to the Registrant in proceeding in his absence as he would not be able to challenge the evidence put forward by the HCPC or give his own evidence. In the Panel’s judgment, however, this could be mitigated. The Registrant had addressed the allegations in his written “Report to HCPC” response received by the HCPC on 11 May 2018 and the Panel would consider his representations carefully. The Panel was also mindful that it could explore any inconsistencies in the evidence which it identified and should ask questions and consider points which might be in the Registrant’s interests and were reasonably apparent from the evidence. Furthermore, the limited disadvantage was the consequence of the Registrant’s decision to absent himself from the hearing, waive his rights to attend and be represented and to not provide updated evidence or make updated submissions.

10. In these circumstances, the Panel decided that it was fair, appropriate and proportionate to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. It would draw no adverse inference from his absence in its findings of fact.

Application to Amend the Allegation

11. Ms Manning-Rees applied to amend the allegation in relation to four particulars. She submitted that these were minor amendments, to correct simple typographical or grammatical errors and to correct a date in a charge in light of the evidence in the bundle. Ms Manning-Rees submitted that the proposed amendments would provide clarity, accuracy and reflect the evidence.

12. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It considered that the amendments applied for provided clarification to the allegation and corrected clear typographical or grammatical errors. The Panel was satisfied that the amendments could be made without prejudice to the Registrant, that they were in fact to his benefit in that he faced properly worded and narrowed charges, and did not in any way affect the substance of the Allegation. Accordingly, the Panel acceded to Ms Manning-Rees’ application.

Hearing in Private

13. During evidence given by one of the witnesses, JS, reference was made to the Registrant’s health. Having received advice from the Legal Assessor, the Panel determined that any references to health would be in private.

Documentation

14. The Panel received the HCPC hearing bundle, numbered pages 1- 557 and a small bundle of correspondence concerning service. The Panel also received a documentary matrix from Ms Manning-Rees.

15. The Registrant’s written representations in his “Report to the HCPC” received on 11 May 2018 were before the Panel. No further written submissions or documents had been received from the Registrant for the purpose of the hearing.

Background:

16. The Registrant was employed by Newcastle City Council (the Council) from October 2001 and as a registered Social Worker from 2008, employed within the Adult Social Care People Directorate. This team is a front line service offering direct access to adult social care across the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

17. The Registrant joined the Community Health and Social Care Direct (CHSCD) team at the Council in April 2015, following an internal restructuring. In 2016, the Registrant began to struggle with the volume of work and began to have more support and intervention from his Line Manager, JS. The Registrant’s performance was being managed under the informal stage of the performance management process from 27 October 2016.

18. In December 2016, a complaint was made by a member of the nursing staff, JG, at Castleside Day Hospital (the Hospital), raising concerns in relation to the Registrant’s practice and attitude towards staff, a service user and that service user’s family member. As a result, the Council undertook a random file audit of six files that the Registrant had involvement with. This audit took place at the start of 2017 and further concerns were raised regarding his level of performance.

19. An internal disciplinary investigation took place and, following Formal Disciplinary Investigation meetings on 24 January 2017 and 13 March 2017, a referral was made to the HCPC on 14 July 2017.

20. The HCPC's case is that the potential consequences of the Registrant's conduct were significant; a number of service users were left in a vulnerable position, left at risk or did not receive the timely care that they needed. There was an ancillary risk of reputational damage to the Council.

Evidence

21. The HCPC adduced oral evidence from two witnesses, JS and JG. Both witnesses confirmed and adopted their witness statements as their evidence in chief and were asked a number of supplementary questions by Ms Manning-Rees.

22. Witness JS is a senior Social Worker and was the Registrant’s Line Manager as well as the Investigating Officer, asked to conduct the investigation into this matter. She gave evidence in relation to each of the allegations in this case.

23. Witness JG is a Staff Nurse who worked with the Registrant in the care of Service User F from August 2016 to December 2016 at the Hospital. Witness JG gave evidence in relation to Particular 5 only.

24. The Panel also carefully considered the documentary evidence in this case. In addition to the HCPC’s bundle, the Panel had careful regard to the Registrant’s representations received in May 2018, in response to the Notice of Allegation.

25. Witness JS said that it became “quickly evident” that the Registrant needed more support than his peers. In her view, she said he did not focus and he “jumped” from task to task without completing the first task. Mr Khan was managed under the informal stage of the performance management process from October 2016 and was provided with increased support and “supervisions” with her as his line manager, moving from six-weekly to every two weeks, to enable him to discuss his cases, identify actions required and agree priorities. The Panel had sight of the Supervision Notes of meetings between 3 October 2016 and 14 November 2016.

26. After the informal performance management plan was developed, a complaint was received on 8 December 2016 from staff based at the Hospital, highlighting a number of areas of concern in relation to the Registrant’s practice and his attitude towards staff, a service user (Service User F) and his daughter. Service User F was an elderly man with moderate dementia, prone to depression and low mood. The case had been allocated to the Registrant on 24 August 2016, as Service User F required an assessment of social needs and welfare rights. Staff had found the Registrant to be abrupt and uncooperative; they were concerned that there was little liaison with family members and requests for adjustments to care provisions were not addressed in a timely manner. Following the complaint, Witness JS was tasked with meeting with the ward manager and three members of ward staff to discuss the concerns they had raised. The Panel had access to the initial document of complaint and a further supporting statement from Witness JG in relation to the complaint.

27. Witness JS then held a fact finding meeting on 16 December 2016 with the Registrant and the Panel had access to the interview notes.

28. A referral to Occupational Health was made following a supervision session on 19 December 2016 at which the Registrant discussed concerning his health.

29. Witness JS held a meeting with Service User F and his daughter on 12 January 2017 to discuss the complaint raised in relation to the Registrant’s alleged conduct and poor practice. The Panel had sight of the minutes of that meeting.

30. Following the meeting with Service User F and his daughter, the Registrant was suspended from his post and a formal disciplinary investigation was initiated. When the Registrant was interviewed, he stated that he was surprised by the concerns raised in relation to Service User F. He stated that it had not been his intention to come across in this way. He did agree that he had failed to liaise with and update the family as requested but denied delaying provision of support and making adjustments to care provisions as required. The Panel had sight of the minutes of disciplinary meetings on 24 January 2017 and 13 March 2017.

31. Witness JS reviewed all of the Registrant’s allocated work and undertook six random file audits in relation to cases that the Registrant had been involved in. Four of the six file audits raised further significant concerns regarding the Registrant’s practice. The Panel also saw the sample audit documentation.

32. In his written representations received in May 2018, the Registrant addressed the allegations he faced. Prior to the allegations to which his case relates, the Registrant had worked as a Social Worker for a number of years, having qualified in 2008 and becoming a progressed Social Worker in 2011. No issues around his professional practice arose until 2015, following a restructure which resulted in his move to the CHSCD team. The Registrant had hoped to work in the learning disability team or the hospital team and did not choose to move to CHSCD team. The Registrant’s concerns were discussed with Witness JS on a number of occasions. The Registrant admitted that had had reservations about this role and he found the work in the CHSCD team challenging, high-pressured and the processes subject to constant change. Further, the office environment was noisy and the Registrant said that, “As a coping mechanism I had started to work from home in my own time. When I advised my supervisor about this and the fact that I didn’t believe I was suited to a role within the Social Care direct team, I was monitored more closely.”

33. It is the Registrant’s recollection that at a supervision session with JS on 5 December, JS stated that she had seen “massive improvements” since he was placed on the informal action plan on 14 November 2016. Witness JS said in her evidence that there had been some improvements but that they were certainly not “massive”.

34. The Registrant applied for another role but was not successful. He stated, “Whilst I fully take responsibilities [sic] for my actions, I do not believe I understood how unwell… I had become. Despite raising this with my supervisor on the 3rd October that I was struggling with work, I did not get referred to Occupational Health until 19 December 2016.” Witness JS stated that the Registrant was offered a referral to Occupational Health in October 2016 but he declined. As a result of the December 2016 complaint, Witness JS stated that the Registrant agreed to attend Occupational Health and subsequently received treatment for his health.

Decision on Facts:

35. The Panel carefully considered the oral evidence, the witness statements and all the documents before it. It carefully considered the submissions of Ms Manning-Rees and the written representations from the Registrant, received on 11 May 2018.

36. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. She reminded it that the burden of proof is on the HCPC and the standard of proof is the civil standard, on the balance of probabilities.

37. The Panel found that Witness JS gave credible and reliable evidence, providing a fair and measured account of her professional relationship with the Registrant, for whom she was his Line Manager. JS made concessions when she did not know the answer to a question. JS was clear in her mind about the working systems in place and around the expectations of her team. JS gave detailed evidence to the Panel around the different tasks and roles which members of the CHSCD team undertook on rotation. The Panel noted that JS had worked with the Registrant since his move to her team. JS acknowledged the heavy workload that the Registrant was dealing with but stated that this was a usual workload within her team. JS stated that no actual harm was caused to any service users in the Registrant’s care.

38. The Panel also heard from Witness JG and found her to be credible and straightforward in the giving of her evidence. She appeared to think very carefully about answering questions asked of her which the Panel considered to be as a result of her feeling nervous. JG gave clear evidence of her recollection of the interaction with Service User F and his daughter and of her upset at her belief that her professionalism was being questioned by the Registrant.

39. The Panel bore in mind that the HCPC had brought the Allegation and the burden remained upon the HCPC to prove its case. The Registrant did not have to prove anything. The standard of proof was on the balance of probabilities. The Panel did not treat the Registrant's absence from the hearing and, accordingly, his failure to give evidence, as any support for the HCPC's case. The fact of his absence did, of course, mean that there was no oral evidence from him which was capable of contradicting, undermining, or explaining the evidence presented by the HCPC. However, the burden remained upon the HCPC to prove its case to the required standard.

Particular 1(a) – found proved

40. The Panel had sight of the Northumbria Police referral to Adult Services dated 19 September 2016 and had regard to the evidence of Witness JS. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS about the clear process for recording a safeguarding concern, being the completion of the Stage 1 Safeguarding Adults Initial Enquiry (SAIE) form. There was no evidence before the Panel of a SAIE form in relation to Service User A having been completed on around 22 September 2016, following the Police referral, or of the Registrant having identified a safeguarding concern. The Registrant’s position was that he completed the paperwork on 13 January 2017 but it may not have been distributed as he was suspended on 18 January 2017. In the absence of evidence that he did identify a safeguarding concern or complete the required SAIE form, the Panel found this allegation proved on the balance of probabilities.

Particular 1(b) – found partially proved

41. The Panel had sight of the Activity Sheet recorded by the Registrant, detailing a telephone call on 14 October 2016 from a professional at Lifeline, advising that Service User B, who was caring for Service User A and sleeping on the floor, needed to move from the address as there was only one bedroom. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS and the documentary evidence that the call was made to the Registrant directly and he recorded this conversation on the Care First system.

42. The Panel also had sight in the bundle of a further note on the Care First system, recorded by the Registrant, that he had called Service User B on 14 October 2016 to discuss the concerns raised by Lifeline but that there was no response and the phone was unanswered.

43. The Panel was satisfied on the evidence before it that the Registrant did identify a safeguarding concern as he specifically referred to it in his Activity Sheet. Accordingly, the Panel did not find proved the allegation that the Registrant did not identify a safeguarding concern on 14 October 2016.

44. The Panel did find proved, on the balance of probabilities, that the Registrant did not initiate a Safeguarding Adults assessment in relation to Service User A as there was no evidence of him doing so on file. The Panel noted the Registrant’s apparent position that he did complete the paperwork but that it had perhaps not been distributed. In the absence of any such evidence, however, and as the Registrant had not attended this hearing to support his apparent position, the Panel found this allegation proved.

Particular 1(c) – found proved

45. The Panel had sight of the Adult Needs Assessment form completed by the Registrant on 1 December 2016, recording disclosure of the potential for Service User B harming Service User A (“she made comments about harming him”). The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS about the clear process for recording a safeguarding concern, being the completion of the Stage 1 SAIE form. The Panel had sight in the bundle of a pro-forma SAIE form, which the Panel considered to be very distinct from the Adult Needs Assessment form completed by the Registrant. There was no evidence that the Registrant completed the requisite SAIE form and, as such, the Panel found proved the allegation that the Registrant did not record Service User B’s disclosure of harming Service user A as a safeguarding concern. As the SAIE was not completed, the Safeguarding Adults Initial Enquiry was not initiated and, accordingly, the Panel also found this part of the allegation proved.

Particular 1(d) – found proved

46. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS around DP3 documentation, its purpose and the process surrounding the payment of a Carer’s Support Allocation. She stated, “Without completion of the form payment is not made.” The Panel also had sight of a DP3 financial form in the bundle, with Service User A’s basic details inserted but the rest of the form remained blank. The Panel considered this DP3 form to be very different from the Support Plan document completed by the Registrant on 12 January 2017 in relation to Service User A.

47. In the Support Plan form completed by the Registrant, he recorded that the carer had agreed to use her carer support allocation of £400 for set purposes. The Panel therefore considered that the Registrant recognised that there was a need for the payment but that he had neither completed nor gone on to upload the requisite DP3 form in relation to Service User A, in order for the payment to be made.

48. Accordingly, the Panel found this allegation proved on the balance of probabilities.

Particular 2(a) – found proved

49. The Panel had sight of an Activity Sheet which recorded that the case in relation to Service User C was allocated to the Registrant on 24 March 2016, with a request for a Carer’s Assessment. The Panel also had sight of the Carer’s Assessment form which was signed off on 29 July 2016 by the Registrant, some 4 months after allocation. Witness JS that she signed the case off as complete on 1 August 2016. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS that, although there was no legal framework or set time scale for the completion of a Carer’s Assessment, it should have been done in a timely manner and that 4 months was too long.

50. In his written representations, the Registrant accepted that he did not submit the Carer’s Assessment to the system in a timely manner. The Registrant apologised for the delay to Service User C and, in the Panel’s view, he clearly realised that he had taken too long.

51. Accordingly, the Panel found this allegation proved.

Particular 2(b) – found proved

52. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS in relation to the process around the printing and posting of Carers’ Assessments and Support Plans. The Panel accepted her evidence that, following her investigation into the matter, there was no evidence to show that the Registrant printed, sent or posted the Carer’s Assessment and Support Plan to Service User C externally or within the internal process. The Panel also had sight of the printing records in relation to Service User C, in support of Witness JS’s position.

53. In oral evidence to the Panel, Witness JS said that an email needed to be sent to Digital Print by way of instruction to automatically print and send documents to service users. She said that, during her investigation, the Registrant told her that he had printed off and posted the documents himself, rather than using Digital Print. There was no evidence before the Panel that he had done this and he did not specifically address this point in his written representations.

54. Accordingly, on the balance of probabilities, the Panel found this allegation proved.

Particular 3(a) – found not proved

55. The Panel saw evidence that the Registrant was alerted via a message from a Commissioning and Procurement Officer, PR, on 14 November 2016 that Service User D had not received her morning medication. The Panel heard evidence from Witness JS that, in addition to the referral from PR, an organisational referral in relation to the same matter came in on the same day, which a colleague, LA, dealt with. Witness JS said that the Registrant would not have known if someone else within the team had responded unless he had looked at the file. Witness JS also accepted that it was the responsibility of the care home to administer medication. The Panel noted that it transpired that the information around missed medication was incorrect and that Service User D had not, in fact, missed her dose.

56. The Panel had no evidence before it as to whether or not the Registrant had looked at the file but it saw evidence that the matter was actioned by LA, the Registrant’s colleague, on 16 November 2016. The Panel had no evidence before it that the Registrant did not look at the file and, in the Panel’s view, it was perfectly feasible that he may have done so and seen that the matter had been actioned.

57. Accordingly, on the balance of probabilities, the Panel found this allegation not proved.


Particular 3(b) – found partially proved

58. The Panel noted the Registrant’s position that he did visit Service User D and discussed Christmas presents; he maintained that Service User D told him that she made a mistake. The Registrant accepted that he should have recorded this.

59. The Panel also had sight of a report dated 28 December 2016 from a colleague of the Registrant, in relation to Service User D accusing staff of taking her Christmas presents. The Panel considered that, on the face of it, the Registrant did take action as he went to see Service User D and the care manager; the Registrant assessed no risk of harm. The Panel therefore found this first part of the allegation not proved.

60. However, the Panel was of the view that the Registrant should have recorded this, given that a concern had been raised and was on file. The Panel considered that the Registrant should have reported a safeguarding concern and the action that he had taken. Accordingly, the Panel found this second part of the allegation to be proved.

Particular 3(c) – found proved

61. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS that there were repeated requests for the Registrant to visit Service User D in the residential home as she was becoming very anxious and wanting to leave. The Panel saw evidence of a number of messages recorded on the system between 28 December 2016 and 12 January 2017, stating, “can duty please call [Senior Carer] back…[Service user D] is getting really anxious…” The Panel noted the Registrant’s position that he remembered further visits and phone calls but he did not provide any detail. The Registrant appeared to accept that such visits/calls were not recorded. Accordingly, the Panel found this allegation proved on the balance of probabilities.

Particular 4(a)(i) – found proved

62. The Panel saw evidence that a Safeguarding Adult Enquiry was actioned in relation to a family who might have learning difficulties and allocated to the Registrant on 2 June 2016. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS who said that the Registrant submitted a Stage Two form to complete the case and that she did not agree with his action. Witness JS told the Panel that she told the Registrant to conduct further enquiries but that the Registrant said he was awaiting additional information for Stage Two.

63. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s view that that they did not receive enough training in relation to Safeguarding, only “bite-sized” training, but the Panel also accepted Witness JS’s evidence that there was plenty of opportunity for on-going training; she gave examples of this to the Panel. The Panel also took into account the Registrant’s position that he was struggling with work pressures during this time and that he took annual leave to cope.

64. On the balance of probabilities, therefore, the Panel found proved the allegation that the Registrant did not gather information to open the Stage Two safeguarding form and contact other professionals without direct instruction and prompts from Witness JS.

Particular 4(a)(ii) – found proved

65. The Panel saw evidence that the safeguarding referral was allocated to the Registrant on 2 June 2016. The Panel took account of the written policy in relation to Stage Two Safeguarding (further information gathering) which stated that the “suggested timescale” for action to be taken is “Ideally within two working days of decision to continue with Safeguarding Adults Enquiry.” The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS that the Registrant took two months to progress the referral. The Panel also took into account the Registrant’s position that he accepted that he gave the referral low priority as he was struggling with work at the time.

66. Accordingly, the Panel found proved the allegation that the Registrant did not complete the Stage Two safeguarding form in a timely manner.

Particular 4(b) – found proved

67. The Panel saw evidence that the safeguarding referral was received by the Registrant after 5pm on 13 December 2016 for him to action on 14 December 2016. It saw evidence that the Registrant sent it to Witness JS, his line manager, on 23 December 2016 for authorisation. The Panel was told by Witness JS that this completed the referral. The Panel took account of the written policy in relation to Stage One Initial Enquiry procedures which stated that the “suggested timescale” for action to be taken is “As soon as possible, ideally within the same working day of becoming aware of the concern.” The Panel was in no doubt that the Registrant did not complete the referral in a timely manner and, accordingly, found this allegation proved.

Particular 5(a) – found proved

68. The Panel heard oral evidence from Witness JG in relation to this allegation and also read further documentary evidence, being a written statement from Witness JG, dated 15 December 2016 in support of her complaint. Witness JG was sharing information concerning the care of Service User F with the Registrant and was informed of an unintended medication incident on 26 August 2016 that had apparently occurred at Service User F’s home, which JG identified as causing a high risk to him. Witness JG maintained that the Registrant was dismissive of her concerns and dismissive towards her; that he wanted written evidence to support her request for action in managing the risk she had identified, even though she had provided him with the documents from the multi – disciplinary meeting on 25 August 2016. The Panel accepted Witness JG’s evidence that she felt that she had had to be “ardent” and assertive in detailing her concerns to the Registrant in relation to what she considered to be a significant risk in relation to medication management.

69. The Panel further considered a letter from GF, Witness JG’s manager, which refers to a number of staff raising concerns about the Registrant on several occasions but it was not clear to the Panel that these concerns related to Service User F as per the allegation.

70. Witness JG was also asked by the Panel who the “other professionals” were to whom the Registrant had been dismissive. She responded that the Registrant had also been dismissive to Colleague B but she accepted that she was not present at the time and this was based on what Colleague B had told her. The Panel decided that it could place little reliance on this multiple hearsay evidence as it had not heard from Colleague B in these proceedings.

71. The Panel considered the Registrant’s representations that he was unaware, at the time in question, of his health issues which were impacting on his attitude towards colleagues.

72. On the balance of probabilities, the Panel found the allegation proved but only in relation to Witness JG. It found that the Registrant was dismissive to a professional, rather than “other professionals.”

Particular 5(b) – found not proved

73. The Panel reminded itself that this allegation was based entirely on what Witness JG says Colleague B told her, following a call between the Registrant and Colleague B. Witness JG was not present during the telephone call. This is hearsay evidence. Although the Registrant said that he apologised to Colleague B, the Panel did not know what this apology was in relation to.

74. As Colleague B did not give evidence to the Panel, her version of events could not be tested. As such the Panel attached little weight to it. The Registrant had not attended either so could not assist the Panel in this regard. Accordingly, on the balance of probabilities, the Panel was not satisfied that it had sufficient evidence to find this allegation proved.

Particular 5(c) – found proved

75. The Panel considered that both Witnesses JG and JS gave clear evidence in relation to the allegation that the Registrant “unnecessarily requested written evidence” of the risks to Service User F. Both witnesses maintained that it was unusual to require written evidence of risks from another professional and that staff would listen to each other. The Panel noted that documents had been provided from the multi – disciplinary meeting which took place on 25 August 2016 and considered these to be acceptable supporting documents. The Panel found this allegation proved.

Particular 5(d) – found not proved

76. The HCPC relied on the evidence of Witness JG in relation to this allegation that the Registrant compromised Service User F’s autonomy by asking his daughter to answer the assessment questions. Witness JG said that the Registrant told Service User F that it would be quicker if he asked his daughter to answer the questions. She stated that the Registrant excluded Service User F while she was present during 30 minutes of the meeting but accepted that he may have communicated with Service User F after she left the meeting. She also accepted that Service User F was hard of hearing and, while she knew this, she had not informed the Registrant who had met Service User F for the first time that day.

77. The Panel took account of the Registrant’s stated recollection that he did ask Service User F for answers and was seeking confirmation from his daughter as Service User F had dementia. The Panel noted that in her witness statement, Witness JG “observed [the Registrant] asking questions and Service User F answering part of the questions.” She also referred to Service User F’s sensory and cognitive communication needs and his experiencing difficulties, yet on her own evidence, she did not tell the Registrant that Service User F was “deaf”. On questioning from the Panel, Witness JG conceded that perhaps, upon reflection, she should have informed the Registrant of this.

78. On the information before it, the Panel could not be satisfied that the Registrant compromised Service User F’s autonomy and found this allegation not proved.

Particular 5(e) – found not proved

79. The evidence in relation to this allegation was also based on a reported telephone call on 5 September 2016 between Colleague B and the Registrant. The evidence of Colleague B cannot be tested in these proceedings and the Panel therefore found this allegation, based entirely on hearsay evidence alone, not proved.

Particular 5(f) – found proved

80. The Panel saw evidence in a timeline that an Occupational Therapist (Colleague B) at the Hospital requested provisions for the regular disposal of used colostomy bags. The Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JG who stated that she spoke to the daughter of Service User F on a number of occasions. The daughter told her that the request had not been addressed and that the colostomy bags were still not being disposed of by the Home Carers by 2 December 2016.

81. Although the Registrant stated in the Fact-finding meeting that he did contact the Care Agency to request the removal of used colostomy bags, the Panel accepted the evidence of Witness JS that there was no evidence or recording to confirm that he did so. It therefore found this allegation proved on the balance of probabilities.

Particular 5(g) – found proved

82. The Panel noted that the Registrant appeared to accept this allegation in his response. The Panel also accepted the evidence of Witness JS that if tasks are not stipulated on the care plan, staff are unaware that they require completion or attention. The Panel further considered the documentary evidence in this regard and noted that, in the care plan dated 6 October 2016, there was no reference to increased shower provision and other personal care tasks such as disposing of colostomy bags. Accordingly, the Panel found this allegation proved on the balance of probabilities.

Particular 5(h) – found proved

83. The Panel noted that the Registrant appeared to accept this allegation in his response. The Panel also accepted the evidence of Witness JG who recalled a meeting when Service User F’s daughter said that she had not received a updated copy of the care plan from the Registrant. Accordingly, the Panel found this allegation proved on the balance of probabilities.

Particular 5(i) – found proved

84. The Panel accepted the evidence in relation to this allegation from both Witnesses JS and JG.

85. Daycare for Service User F was initially requested from the hospital on 4 November 2016. Witness JG stated, in her initial statement of complaint, that a formal request for daycare was then made on 11 November 2016, following a Multi-disciplinary team meeting. She stated that “Arranging day care is a social workers [sic] remit.” She said that the Registrant was “resistant to the professional recommendation for day care” and that she had to chase this up on 2 December 2016.

86. The Panel saw evidence that, by the investigation meeting on 24 January 2017, the Registrant had still not applied for daycare.

87. The Panel accepted Witness JS’s evidence that there was no record of the Registrant requesting daycare for Service User F.

88. It is the Registrant’s position that there was not a delay, rather a different service provision was being used, but he acknowledged that the period of time taken to deal with this was not acceptable. The Panel further noted an email from Witness JG to Witness JS on 15 December 2016 which said that written evidence had been provided to the Registrant about Service User F’s need for day care but that no application had been made for daycare.

89. The Panel was in no doubt that the Registrant did not make an application for day care in a timely manner which delayed the discharge of Service User F from day hospital and, accordingly, found this allegation proved.

Decision on Grounds:

90. The Panel went on to consider, on the basis of the facts found proved, whether the grounds of misconduct and/or lack of competence were established and if so whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. In reaching its decision, the Panel adopted a two stage approach, first in considering whether the facts found proved respectively constituted a lack of competence or misconduct, then whether those findings lead to the conclusion that his fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel noted that there is no burden or standard of proof at this stage and exercised its own professional judgement, keeping at the forefront of its consideration the overarching objectives of the HCPC.

91. Ms Manning-Rees made submissions regarding the issue of grounds and addressed the Panel on both lack of competence and misconduct. She referred to the relevant HCPC Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers (2012) as being paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 7 and 8. She also referred to the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016), particularly paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10.

92. No submissions regarding misconduct or lack of competence had been received from the Registrant.

93. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who reminded it of the tests for misconduct and lack of competence and referred the Panel to the cases of Roylance v GMC (No. 2) [2000] 1 AC 311 and Holton v GMC [2006] EWHC 2960 Admin. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that, in order to find lack of competence, it would need to have considered a fair sample of the Registrant’s work and that it should consider whether the Registrant has the knowledge, skills and judgment to practise safely.

94. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s actions breached the following paragraphs of the HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (2016):
• 1 - Promote and protect the interests of service users and carers
• 2 - Communicating appropriately and effectively
• 6 - Manage risk
• 7 - Report concerns about safety
• 10 - Keep records of your work

95. The Panel also concluded that the Registrant breached the following Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers (2012):
• 1 - be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
• 2 - be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession
• 3 - be able to maintain fitness to practise
• 4 - be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement
• 8 - be able to communicate effectively
• 9 - be able to work appropriately with others
• 10 - be able to maintain records appropriately

96. The Panel first considered whether any of the facts proved amounted to a lack of competence. The Panel was of the view that the matters found proved in this case, although relating to five service users, occurred during a relatively short time span in the Registrant’s lengthy career as a Social Worker. The conduct occurred over a five month period, between August and December 2016 and the Panel considered this in the context of the Registrant being qualified as a Social Worker since 2008. The matters found proved in this case relate, in the Panel’s view, to basic and fundamental duties of a social worker. The information before the Panel, supported by the evidence of both the Registrant and Witness JS, was that there had been no issues with his practice prior to his transfer to the CHSCD team in 2015.

97. The Panel considered the Registrant’s own representations and the evidence of Witness JS that the Registrant had not wanted to transfer to that team. The Registrant accepted that he found the volume of work to be too great, that he did not do things that he should have done and that, as a result, his practice as a Social Worker fell below the standards he normally adhered to. The Panel did not consider, however, that the Registrant’s poor practice and behaviour indicated a lack of competence and it was not satisfied that he did not have the knowledge, skills and judgement to practise safely. In general terms, the Panel took the view that the Registrant was aware of the standards expected of him but failed to adhere to them. The Panel therefore found that there was not a lack of competence in respect of any of the matters found proved.

98. The Panel next considered whether any of the facts proved could amount to misconduct. The Panel was aware that not every act falling short of what would be proper in the circumstances, and not every breach of the HCPC Standards would be sufficiently serious that it could properly be described as misconduct. However, the Panel was in no doubt that the facts it had found proved in this case amounted to misconduct. It found that the Registrant's actions placed a number of service users at risk of harm, through their safeguarding needs not being met. The Panel accepted the HCPC's case that there was a clear potential for particularly vulnerable members of society not receiving the care that they needed. There was an ancillary risk of reputational damage to the Registrant’s employer, but in the Panel's view this was of limited consequence when put into the context of the risk to service users.

99. The Panel, found that the Registrant’s conduct demonstrated behaviour that lacked professional integrity and that fellow Registrants would consider to be nothing short of deplorable. The Panel was in no doubt that the Registrant's behaviour had the clear potential to undermine public confidence in the profession and it found that to characterise it as other than misconduct would fail to uphold proper professional standards and would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory function of the HCPC.

Decision on Impairment:

100. Having reached its conclusions in respect of misconduct, the Panel went on to decide whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.

101. Ms Manning-Rees made submissions on impairment. The Panel was invited to assess the Registrant’s level of insight and what, if any, remediation had been undertaken. Ms Manning-Rees submitted that, as the Panel had heard nothing from the Registrant, there was no evidence of insight or any remediation and that his fitness to practise was and remains impaired.

102. No submissions regarding impairment had been received from the Registrant.

103. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. She referred the Panel to the HCPTS Practice Note on Finding Fitness to Practise Impaired and to the guidance in the Fifth Shipman Report and CHRE v NMC and Grant [2011] EWHC 927 (Admin). She reminded the Panel that it must consider the issues of insight, remediation and risk of repetition when assessing impairment and that the Panel should exercise its own professional judgment on these issues.

104. In reaching its decision, the Panel bore in mind its duty to protect the public, to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process, and to declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and conduct.

105. The Panel considered the test set out by Dame Janet Smith in her Fifth Shipman Report. In all these circumstances, the Panel found that the Registrant has in the past acted, and is liable in the future to act, so as to put service users at unwarranted risk of harm; that he has in the past brought, and that he is liable in the future to bring the profession into disrepute; and that he has in the past breached, and is liable in the future to breach fundamental tenets of the profession, namely to promote and protect the interests of service users and carers and to manage risk.

106. The Panel first carefully considered the personal component of impairment, and considered the Registrant's level of insight, whether his misconduct was capable of remediation, whether it had been remediated and the risk of repetition. The Panel considered that, in theory, the misconduct was capable of remediation through meaningful reflection into the failings and re-training on the fundamental importance of adherence to the principles set out in the Standards detailed above.

107. As to insight, the Panel was concerned that the Registrant has failed to appreciate fully the nature and seriousness of his actions. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s written representations received in May 2018, being the only detailed communication from him in relation to these proceedings. He referenced the challenges he was facing at the time of the allegations and stated: “On reflection I acknowledge that I have struggled to manage the volume of work which has influenced some mistakes and errors, regarding certain operational procedures and processes being unintentionally neglected in my role as a social worker within the Community Health and Social Care Direct team. Considering this I believe that during the said period of practice I did not compromise the health, safety and wellbeing of the service users or carers nor as a result of my conduct did I place anyone at any serious or significant risk of harm. I fully accept that the service I provided in terms of my record keeping fell short. I apologise for this.”

108. There was limited evidence before the Panel that the Registrant understood the gravity of the actions that had led to the finding of misconduct or the potential consequences of his actions. There was also no evidence that he has reflected fully upon his behaviour, although he did express remorse into his shortcomings in relation to record keeping. In the Panel’s view, the Registrant’s insight is not yet fully developed.

109. The Panel had no information about the Registrant’s current circumstances, whether he is working as a Social Worker or in any other capacity. It also has no information around his current health, whether he has had treatment and the nature and outcome of this. In the absence of engagement by the Registrant with his regulator, further evidence of reflection or of any re-training, the Panel found no evidence of remediation of the Registrant's misconduct. The Panel could not exclude the risk of repetition of such misconduct by the Registrant and, accordingly, the Panel found the Registrant’s fitness to practise to be currently impaired on the personal component.

110. Turning to the public interest component of impairment, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant's misconduct substantially undermined the trust and confidence the public has in the profession. Although the Panel took into account Witness JS’s assessment that no actual harm was caused to service users in the Registrant’s care, the Panel was concerned that, for example, matters were not progressed in a timely manner and considered that this had the potential for harm. The Panel was in no doubt that the need to declare and uphold proper professional standards and to maintain public confidence in the profession is such that a finding of impairment must be made in the circumstances of this case.

111. Accordingly, the Panel determined that the Registrant's current fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his misconduct, both on the grounds of public protection and in order to meet the wider public interest.

Decision on Sanction:

112. Ms Manning-Rees referred to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy and reminded the Panel that it should start from the least restrictive sanction and bear in mind the need to act proportionately.

113. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who reminded it that the purpose of sanction was not to be punitive. Rather, the primary function of a sanction is to address public safety issues although there will also be secondary considerations in the form of a deterrent effect on other professionals and in maintaining the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the regulatory process. She advised the Panel to firstly consider whether any sanction was necessary and, if it was, to consider sanctions in ascending order, settling with the least restrictive that met the Panel’s concerns. If a sanction is to be imposed, it must relate only to the facts proved or admitted. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel to bear in mind the principle of proportionality, at all times balancing the Registrant’s interests with the public interest.

114. No submissions in relation to sanction or any references or testimonials had been submitted by the Registrant.

115. The starting point for the Panel was that the Registrant’s misconduct was serious; his actions placed a number of service users at risk of harm, through their safeguarding needs not being met. There was a clear potential for particularly vulnerable members of society not receiving the care that they needed and this had a potential to adversely impact upon them, their family members and carers. The Panel had no information to indicate that the concerns about the Registrant’s practice had been addressed and it concluded that he continued to pose a current risk of harm to the public and to the wider public interest.

116. The Panel considered the mitigating and aggravating factors.

117. In relation to personal mitigation, the Registrant had sent written representations received by the HCPC in May 2018. In those representations, he addressed the allegations in this case under a heading of “Mitigation to Allegations.” The Panel considered the Registrant’s written representations with care.

118. The Panel identified the following aggravating factors in this case:
• a number of vulnerable service users were placed at risk of harm as a result of the Registrant’s actions and inactions, with a further impact upon their families and carers;
• the shortcomings identified in this case were wide-ranging and spanned a 5 month period;
• the misconduct was repeated as there were several similar breaches;
• the lack of case progression did cause concern to service users and professionals;
• the Registrant initially engaged in the HCPC proceedings but has not evidenced any steps taken by him to address his conduct or his health.

119. The Panel also considered that there were a number of mitigating factors:
• the Panel considered that the misconduct found proved in this case was not deliberate but was a result of the Registrant struggling to cope with the fast-paced work in the new team, the pressures of that work and their effect on his health;
• the Registrant has had a previously unblemished career since 2008, until he was transferred to the new team;
• the Registrant has demonstrated some, albeit limited, insight in his written representations;
• the Registrant has made some admissions, accepted responsibility for his actions and apologised for his record keeping deficiencies.
• the Registrant was struggling with health issues requiring support and the Panel had evidence that the recommended support was given to the Registrant by Occupational Health after the dates of the matters found proved;
• the Registrant initially engaged with the HCPC

120. The Panel considered what sanction, if any, should be applied, and considered its powers in ascending order of seriousness. The Panel had in mind the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy and the principle of proportionality when considering sanctions.

121. The Panel concluded that the misconduct in this case was too serious to refer for mediation or to take no action. There is a risk of repetition and taking no action would fail to protect the public or meet the public interest in declaring and upholding proper professional standards and maintaining confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.

122. The Panel next considered whether to make a Caution Order. A Caution Order is appropriate in cases where the failing is isolated, relatively minor in nature or where the risk of recurrence is low. This was not an isolated lapse, nor minor in nature, as the proved allegations involved safeguarding concerns. The Panel considered the conduct to be serious and there had been no appreciable insight or any remediation. The Panel considered that the lapses in this case all derived from a particular situation that the Registrant found himself in; he was working in an environment he found difficult to cope with and highly pressured. He struggled to deal with this. The Panel has no information as to where the Registrant is currently working, if at all. He could be working as a social worker and, if he is, in the absence of evidence of remediation, he would still pose a risk to service users. The Panel considered that the core of safeguarding is protecting vulnerable service users and, in light of there being a risk of repetition of the misconduct found proved, a Caution Order would not be appropriate or sufficient to protect either the public or the public interest.

123. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel firstly considered whether the misconduct was remediable and concluded that there is potential for remediation. The Panel noted that conditions must be workable and measurable and there must be a potential for meaningful compliance. In this case there has been limited engagement and insight, and the Panel has no information about the Registrant’s current circumstances – his work situation or his health. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that even if appropriate conditions could be formulated to address the misconduct and the ongoing risk presented by the Registrant, in the absence of further information from him, it could not be satisfied that those conditions would be workable, or that the Registrant would comply with them. Conditions of Practice were therefore not an appropriate or sufficient Sanction to protect the public or the public interest.

124. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order and noted, on the basis of the Indicative Sanctions Policy, that such an order may be appropriate “where the allegation is of a serious nature but unlikely to be repeated and, thus, striking off is not merited.” The Panel considered the previously unblemished professional career of the Registrant and that he started to struggle in the new team under the specific pressures of a new job role. The Panel was of the view that there was the potential for the Registrant to be able to practise safely and effectively in the future. The Panel has noted above that the Registrant’s insight is not yet fully developed but has concluded that it would be premature to say that full insight could not be attained. The Panel is satisfied in this case that a Suspension Order is appropriate because:
(i) it will provide adequate public protection and also would protect the public interest by acting as a deterrent to other registrants. It would also maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulator;
(ii) it keeps open the prospect of a return to practice by the Registrant if he wishes to in the future, provided he shows sufficient insight into past failings and a future ability to practise safely;
(iii) whilst the Panel acknowledged that there had been no recent meaningful engagement in this case and there remained a risk of repetition of the misconduct, it concluded that a Striking-Off Order would not be proportionate at this time.

125. The Panel has determined to suspend the Registrant’s registration for six months. This period would give the Registrant sufficient time to reflect on the Panel’s findings, develop insight, and formulate a plan for remediation. It considered that a longer period would be punitive in the absence of further information from Registrant.

126. The Panel was mindful of the significant impact that such an order may have on the Registrant in terms of financial, personal and professional hardship. In any event, the Panel determined that the protection of the public and the wider public interest outweigh those of the Registrant in this regard.

127. Before this order expires, it will be reviewed by a Panel of the HCPC and the Registrant will be invited to attend that review hearing. At that review, the reviewing panel may be assisted by the Registrant:
• attending the future review hearing, either in person or by telephone;
• submitting a reflective piece to the HCPC, not less than 14 days before any such review hearing takes place, in which he demonstrates an understanding of the underlying reasons for his conduct, the steps he has taken to address the conduct, the impact of his conduct on service users, carers, colleagues and members of the public and how he would behave differently in the future;
• submitting evidence of steps he has taken to improve his health;
• submitting details of relevant training/education undertaken by the Registrant and, if working, references/testimonials relating to any paid or voluntary work undertaken since the misconduct took place, commenting on performance and personal development in that or those roles with particular reference to the misconduct found.

128. The Registrant can apply for an early review of this Suspension Order should he wish to do so but his case will be reviewed, in any event, before the Order expires.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Nassar Mohammed Khan for a period of six months from the date this order comes into effect.


This order will be reviewed again before its expiry.

Notes

Right of Appeal
You may appeal to the High Court in England and Wales against the Panel’s decision and the Order it has made against you.
Under Article 29(10) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you. The Panel’s Order will not take effect until the appeal period has expired or, if you appeal, until that appeal is disposed of or withdrawn.

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.

Interim Order:

Proceeding in Absence/Application for an Interim Order:
1. The Panel heard an application from Ms Manning-Rees to cover the appeal period by imposing an 18 month Interim Suspension Order on the Registrant’s registration. She submitted that such an order is necessary to protect the public and is otherwise in the public interest.
2. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It had careful regard to Paragraphs 51-54 of the Indicative Sanctions Policy and to Paragraph 7 of the HCPTS Practice Note on Interim Orders, which offers guidance on interim orders imposed at final hearings after a sanction has been imposed. This makes clear that registrants should be made aware of the potential for an interim order to be imposed on their registration after the panel has made a substantive order and should be given an opportunity to make representations in respect of an interim order.
3. The Panel noted that the Registrant had been informed by the Notice of Hearing letter dated 11 September 2018 that if this Panel found proved the allegation against him and imposed a Conditions of Practice Order, a Suspension Order or a Striking-Off Order, the HCPC may make an application to the Panel to impose an interim order to cover any appeal period. For the reasons set out in its earlier decision to commence the hearing in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel determined that it would also be fair, proportionate and in the interests of justice to consider Ms Manning-Rees’ application.
Decision:
4. The Panel recognised that its power to impose an Interim Order is discretionary and that the imposition of such an order is not an automatic outcome of fitness to practise proceedings in which a Suspension Order has been imposed, and that the Panel must take into consideration the impact of such an order on the Registrant. The Panel was, however, mindful of its findings in relation to the misconduct in this case and the risk of repetition.
5. The Panel decided to impose an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001. The Panel was satisfied that an Interim Suspension Order is necessary for the protection of the public and is otherwise in the public interest to maintain confidence in this regulatory process. The Panel has had regard to the misconduct found proved and the resulting public protection concerns and the full reasons set out in its decision for the substantive order in reaching the decision to impose an Interim Order. In the circumstances, it also considered that public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be seriously undermined were the Registrant allowed to remain in practice during the appeal period.
6. The period of this order is for 18 months to allow for the possibility of an appeal to be made and determined.
7. If no appeal is made, then the Interim Suspension Order will be replaced by the Suspension Order 28 days after the Registrant is sent the decision of this hearing in writing.

Interim Suspension Order:
The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest.
This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Nassar Mohammed Khan

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
09/07/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed
14/01/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended