Mr Nassar Mohammed Khan

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW28356

Interim Order: Imposed on 14 Jan 2019

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 09/07/2019 End: 12:00 09/07/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

As found proven at the final hearing on 18 January 2019:

 

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. found not proven;
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. found not proven;
c. Unnecessarily requested written evidence of the risks to Service User F;
d. found not proven;
e. found not proven;
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 of Notice

1. The Panel has sight of the Notice of Hearing letter dated 28 June 2019 which informed the Registrant of the date, time and venue of the hearing. The Panel is satisfied that good service of today’s hearing has been effected.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

2. Ms Senior submitted that the hearing should proceed in the absence of the Registrant. During the course of her submissions she referred the Panel to an email from the Registrant dated 2 July 2019. The Registrant stated in this e-mail that he would not be attending today’s hearing.

3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”.

4. In reaching a decision the Panel was mindful that it must exercise its discretion with the utmost care and caution. The Panel took into account that this is a joint application by the HCPC and the Registrant. Having considered the Registrant’s email dated 2 July 2019, the Panel decided that the Registrant had waived his right to attend the hearing and that it was very unlikely given his stated intention that an adjournment would secure his attendance at a future hearing. The Panel decided that in all the circumstances it would be fair to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

Background:

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. The substantive hearing commenced on 14 January and concluded on 16 January 2019. The Registrant did not attend, but the substantive hearing panel did have sight of his response to the Notice of Allegation dated 17 April 2018 and a document titled ‘Report to the HCPC’ dated 11 May 2018.

10. The substantive hearing panel found the particulars of the Allegation proved or partially proved with the exception of particulars 3a, 5b, 5d and 5e, which were found not proven. The panel found that the facts found proven amounted to misconduct, commenting that the Registrant’s actions placed a number of service users at risk of harm through their safeguarding needs not being met.

11. The panel went on to find impairment, both on the personal and the public components. The panel took into account the Registrant’s statement from May 2018 where he struggled with his work, yet noted that the evidence was limited in showing that the Registrant understood the gravity and consequences of his actions. In summary the panel found that whilst there was some evidence of remorse, the Registrant’s insight into the matters at hand was not fully developed. 

12. The panel imposed a suspension order of six months, noting that ‘this period would give the Registrant sufficient time to reflect on the Panel’s findings, develop insight, and formulate a plan for remediation’.

13. The decision of the substantive hearing panel identified a number of mitigating factors. The Registrant had a previously unblemished career from 2008, until he was transferred to the new team. The substantive hearing panel considered the misconduct 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. That panel considered he had demonstrated some, albeit limited, insight, in his written representation. He had made some admissions, accepted responsibility for his actions, and apologised for his record keeping deficiencies.

14. Shortly after the final hearing concluded, on 20 February 2019, the Registrant sent an e-mail to the HCPC stating that he would not be attending any future review hearings to review his suspension order as he no longer wished to practice as a Social Worker. He stated that this decision was made in the best interests of his personal health, wellbeing and integrity.

15. The HCPC responded on 14 March 2019, outlining voluntary removal from the register as a possible way forward. The Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent was provided to the Registrant on this date which sets out the process for a voluntary removal application (VRA)

16. The Registrant responded on 3 April 2019 confirming that he would like to pursue VRA, reiterated on 5 June 2019 when he received the notice of hearing for the substantive review.

17. The HCPC responded on 7 June 2019 and the VRA was provided to the Registrant on 27 June. It was returned signed to the HCPC in early July 2019. The Registrant has made a declaration that he admits the allegation found proven against him and is not aware of any other matters which could give rise to any other allegations.


Submissions:

18. Ms Senior submitted that, in all the circumstances, voluntary removal from the Register would be an appropriate means of resolving the current matter. She submitted that the necessary public protection would be ensured by agreeing the VRA. This is because removal will ensure that the Registrant can no longer practice as a Social Worker, thus protecting the public and service users from any future acts or omissions which may be commissioned by him as a registered professional. Ms Senior further submitted that it would not be detrimental to the wider public interest to dispose of the matter by way of voluntary removal as the public interest factors have been addressed at the substantive hearing held in January 2019.


Decision:

19. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note “Disposal of Cases by Consent”.

20. In reaching a decision the Panel considered the Registrant’s current position, namely that he is subject to a six month Suspension Order which is due to expire next month. The Panel considered that in the event of a future review hearing, given the Registrant’s stated position that he does not intend to practise, whilst there may be some evidence of insight, it is unlikely that there would be evidence of remediation. In these circumstances the Registrant could be facing the potential risk that his name would be removed from the Register without his consent.

21. The Panel noted that the Registrant’s email stating that he did not intend to return to practice as a Social Worker was sent to the HCPC on 20 February 2019.  The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s application represents a considered decision which was made soon after the decision of the substantive hearing Panel and which he has maintained since that time. Therefore it was not a decision made in response to the listing of the case for a review hearing.

22. The Panel considered whether voluntary removal would secure public protection. From the Registrant’s correspondence with the HCPC the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant understood the consequences of the proposed VRA. If the Registrant were to apply for readmission to the Register he would be treated as if his name had been removed from the Register. As such, the Panel concluded the proposed VRA would therefore provide an appropriate level of public protection.

22. The Panel next considered the wider public interest considerations including the need to declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the profession.

23. In this regard the Panel noted that there has been a substantive public hearing in which the issues have been fully considered and ventilated. The findings made by the substantive Panel, including the finding of misconduct and impairment together with the imposition of a six month Suspension Order, uphold the standards of conduct and behaviour. The panel considered it was relevant to note that the Registrant has already been subject to a Suspension Order for a period of five months. This Suspension Order was imposed to meet the wider public considerations and not as a punishment. Further, the Panel was satisfied that public confidence in the profession and the system of regulation has been sufficiently maintained.

24. The Panel determined that although the matters were serious, the decision of the substantive hearing Panel was sufficient and that further hearings were not required.

25. The Panel did not identify any other considerations which indicated that the VRA would be detrimental to the wider public interest. The Panel therefore decided to approve the VRA.

 

 

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Mr Nassar Mohammed Khan from the Register with immediate effect.

 

Notes

No notes available

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