Rana H R Tipu

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: Rana H R Tipu

Hearing Type: Restoration Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 26/03/2019 End: 17:00 26/03/2019

Location: The Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Restoration not granted

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Allegation

Whilst registered as a Physiotherapist:

1. In 2011 you made false claims in your application to the Australian Physiotherapy Council in that you:

a. Stated that you had worked as a Senior Physiotherapist at “First Physiotherapy and Home Care Services” from June 2010 to December 2010;

b. Stated that you had worked as a Senior Physiotherapist at “East London Rehab Services” from May 2005 to December 2006;

c. Provided a professional reference purportedly from Bob Swayze, which was not genuine;

d. Signed a legal declaration on 9 March 2011 that the information you provided in your application to the Australian Physiotherapy Council was true, complete and to date.

2. You asked Mr A. to provide false statements to the Australian Physiotherapy Council in support of your application.

3. The matters set out in paragraph 1 – 2 are dishonest.

4. The matters set out at paragraphs 1 – 3 above constitute misconduct.

5. By reason of that misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Background

1. On 31 January 2013, a Conduct and Competence Committee found the following Allegation against the Applicant proved:

Whilst registered as a Physiotherapist:

1. In 2011 you made false claims in your application to the Australian Physiotherapy Council in that you:

a. Stated that you had worked as a Senior Physiotherapist at “First Physiotherapy and Home Care Services” from June 2010 to December 2010;

b. Stated that you had worked as a Senior Physiotherapist at “East London Rehab Services” from May 2005 to December 2006;

c. Provided a professional reference purportedly from Bob Swayze, which was not genuine;

d. Signed a legal declaration on 9 March 2011 that the information you provided in your application to the Australian Physiotherapy Council was true, complete and to date.

2. You asked Mr A. to provide false statements to the Australian Physiotherapy Council in support of your application.

3. The matters set out in paragraph 1 – 2 are dishonest.

4. The matters set out at paragraphs 1 – 3 above constitute misconduct.

5. By reason of that misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.

2. The substantive hearing panel, having found misconduct, decided that the appropriate sanction was a Striking Off Order.

3. By an email dated 7 November 2017, the Applicant expressed his desire to be restored to the HCPC Register. He was informed by the HCPC that he was not eligible to apply for restoration until 28 February 2018. The Applicant completed his application for restoration on 6 August 2018 and it was received by the HCPC on 9 August 2018.

4. The Presenting Officer provided the Panel with a chronology of events in relation to the Application.

Decision

5. Article 33(5) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 (the Order) provides that a panel must not grant an application for restoration unless it is satisfied on the balance of probability that an applicant:

• meets the general requirements for registration; and

• is a fit and proper person to practise the relevant profession, having regard to the particular circumstances that led to striking off.

6. Striking off is a sanction of last resort, which is only used in cases involving serious, deliberate or reckless acts and where there may be a lack of insight, continuing problems or denial, or where public protection in its widest sense cannot be secured by any lesser means. It is insufficient for an applicant seeking restoration to the HCPC Register merely to establish that they meet the requisite standard of proficiency and the other general requirements for registration.

7. When determining restoration applications, the issues a panel should consider include:

• the matters which led to striking off and the reasons given by the original panel for imposing that sanction;

• whether the applicant accepts and has insight into those matters;

• whether the applicant has resolved those matters, has the willingness and ability to do so, or whether they are capable of being resolved by the applicant;

• what other remedial or rehabilitative steps the applicant has taken;

• what steps the applicant has taken to keep his or her professional knowledge and skills up-to-date.

8. The decision reached by the Panel must be proportionate, striking a fair balance between interfering with the Applicant’s ability to practise and the overarching objective of public protection. The Panel has a duty to consider the safety of the public when determining whether the Applicant poses a risk if allowed to return to unrestricted practice. The Panel may grant conditional restoration to the HCPC Register, or alternatively replace the Striking Off Order with a Conditions of Practice Order.

9. The Panel heard submissions from the Applicant in support of the application. The Applicant was aware that not giving evidence under Affirmation meant that the Panel would attach less weight to his representations. The Panel was grateful to the Applicant for answering its questions in respect of his application. 

10. The oral submissions of the Applicant followed closely the written submissions that he had provided. He stated that he accepted the decision of the HCPC to strike him off and that he had “great remorse” for what he had done. He identified a period of five to eight months post-striking off as being when he developed insight into his behaviour and attributed this to realising that the Striking Off Order would impact upon his ability to travel, particularly to Australia, where he had family. He frankly admitted to the Panel that when he applied to the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA), he actively considered not disclosing his Striking Off because he thought that AHPRA may not check his HCPC registration. He stated that the question around suspension or cancellation of a professional registration “was a very difficult question as I had an insight feeling that answering ”yes” to this question will not get me registration, but as I had already learnt my lesson and was extremely remorseful so I honestly declared my HCPC strike off.” The Applicant submitted that “the main reason now to apply for HCPC UK registration is to regain the public confidence in me so that I can prove that I am a different and honest person now”. He then explained in greater detail, “I also need to apply again for the APC process to start working in Australia and join my family and for this purpose I need HCPC UK registration so that I can declare to AHPRA that I have been restored to the register”.

11. The Presenting Officer confirmed that the HCPC formally opposed the application to restore the Applicant to the HCPC Register. She noted that the Applicant had not addressed the impact of his behaviour on the public or how it affected his profession, although the Applicant did say that he accepted the decision to strike him from the HCPC Register. She observed that the Applicant admitted considering not disclosing that he had been struck off when making his application for registration in Australia, and that even if his application was successful, he would still be required to disclose that he had been subject to a Striking Off Order.

12. There was limited evidence that the Applicant fulfilled the proficiency requirements for registration; the Presenting Officer noted that the Applicant was living and working in Pakistan and that he accepted that there was no regulatory body equivalent to the HCPC there. He had not identified any intention to return to the UK and she therefore submitted that it would be difficult for him to comply with the “Return to Practice” requirements of the HCPC and may have difficulty securing supervision and support in the event that the Panel imposed either conditional restoration or replaced the Striking Off Order with a Conditions of Practice Order.

13. The Presenting Officer stated that the Applicant had not demonstrated a willingness to deal with issues identified by the substantive hearing panel. There was no evidence of insight, remediation or rehabilitation and extremely limited information as to the extent to which the Applicant had maintained his professional skills and knowledge since being struck off.

14. The Panel carefully considered the documentary evidence and submissions provided to it, and received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It had particular regard to the HCPTS Practice Notes in respect of “Restoration to the Register” and “Unrepresented Registrants” and was mindful that it is for the Applicant to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that he should be restored to the HCPC Register.

15. The Panel considered the circumstances in which the Applicant was removed from the HCPC Register of Physiotherapists in 2013. It noted that the Applicant had not provided it with any explanation as to why he had failed to engage with the regulatory process at that point. The only explanation that had been provided by the Applicant as to why he had provided false information about his experience and employment, arranged for an individual to provide a false reference, and made a false declaration on a legal document, was “I did not want to give a career break”. Within the email containing that assertion, he also stated “I know I did not make any false declaration”. The substantive hearing panel found the Applicant’s behaviour to have been serious and dishonest with a view to obtaining remunerated employment as a physiotherapist, and when confronted with his misconduct, the Applicant sought to deflect the blame on to others. The Panel noted that the Applicant did not dispute the findings of the substantive hearing panel; he just did not address the decision at all. This was of concern given that the Applicant had been found to be dishonest and to have brought the profession into disrepute.

16. In response to questions from the Panel, the Applicant stated that he gained insight into his behaviour some five to eight months after he was struck off when his application for a visa to visit Australia was refused. The Panel had no reason to doubt that this was the case but considered that it would have been possible for the Applicant to demonstrate more meaningful insight into, and remorse for, his conduct. The Panel was not satisfied that the Applicant understood that his professional integrity had been called into question through his deliberate and elaborate provision of false information to a regulatory body, which was compounded by him arranging for a colleague to confirm the falsehood and then making a false declaration on a legal document. The Panel’s concerns were supported by the Applicant appearing to seek credit for behaving honestly in disclosing his striking off when he again applied for recognition in Australia in 2014. The Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics adopted by the HCPC require that all registered professionals justify the public’s trust and confidence in them and their profession, and that registered professionals are honest about their experience, qualifications and skills. It was of grave concern to the Panel that the Applicant entertained any thoughts whatsoever in respect of hiding his regulatory history and making a further false declaration on a legal document to secure the outcome he desired, even if he did not actually follow through with it.

17. The Panel then considered the steps taken by the Applicant since being removed from the HCPC Register to demonstrate insight, remediation and rehabilitation. In his oral submission to the Panel, the Applicant stated that he attended meetings of Pakistan Physical Therapy Association (PPTA) and worked for the Lahore American School as a physiotherapist. However, he had not provided testimonials from any individual connected with either organisation. He also said that he was in contact with colleagues from the UK, by which he kept up-to-date with advances in the profession, but again, no testimonials from any individual, HCPC registered or not, had been provided to support this assertion.

18. The Applicant submitted that whilst struck off he has:

• practised physical therapy in Pakistan;

• learnt dry needling and Acupuncture treatment for various physiotherapy-related issues;

• polished his skills in sports injuries management and pain management;

• provided sports-specific treatment to football clubs in Pakistan;

• become a very renowned pain management therapist;

• regularly read journals and kept up-to-date with current advancement in the physiotherapy profession;

• provided community rehabilitation services from home and worked at a high-profile level;

• worked as a physical therapist for business people and sportsmen of Pakistan;

• provided free services and treatment for the needy;

• undertaken online Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

However, the Applicant was unable to provide any dates or details of the above. The Panel appreciated that there may be different opportunities for engaging in CPD in Pakistan; however, the Applicant was clearly aware of the importance of CPD as he had listed it on his resume in 2011 and was regulated by the then-HPC at that time, and was therefore aware of the requirement to be able to demonstrate compliance with his professional obligations in respect of CPD. Further, he had asserted that he had undertaken online CPD and therefore he should, at the very least, have been able to provide screenshots of the courses he had undertaken. He would also be able to access the Standards of Proficiency for Physiotherapists and the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics via the HCPC website.

19. The Panel had regard to the “Standards of Proficiency for Physiotherapists”, which set out the standards which reflect safe and effective professional practice in physiotherapy:

• the threshold standards necessary to protect the public;

• expectations of registrants’ knowledge and abilities when they start practising;

• meeting the standards of proficiency that apply to a registrant’s scope of practice;

• what service users and the public should expect from their health and care professional;

and the “Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics”, which applies to all regulated professional in respect of:

• the behaviour expected of registrants;

• what the public should expect from their health and care professional;

• the character of professionals who apply to the HCPC Register;

as well as the “Standards of Continuing Professional Development” which help registrants to demonstrate continuing learning and development throughout their careers so they keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date and are able to practise safely and effectively. All registered professionals are expected to:

• maintain a continuous, up-to-date, and accurate record of their CPD activities;

• demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice;

• seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery;

• seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user;

• upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.

20. The Panel was not satisfied that the Applicant is currently a fit and proper person to practise as a physiotherapist, as a consequence of both his failure to demonstrate meaningful insight into his past dishonest conduct and his failure to demonstrate that he had maintained his skills and practice in accordance with the standards of proficiency for physiotherapists. It was concerned that the Applicant posed a risk to the public if allowed to return to unrestricted practise at this point, and that his primary motivation for seeking restoration was not to practise his profession in the UK but to secure access to Australia to be with his family. Further, a reasonable and well-informed member of the public would be concerned if the Applicant was returned to unrestricted practise despite providing no evidence of his continued learning and development during the period of his striking off order. Public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process would be seriously undermined given the nature and gravity of the Applicant’s behaviour.

21. The Panel was satisfied that a Striking Off order remains necessary and proportionate to protect the public and in the wider public interest given the serious nature of the allegation against the Applicant. It did not believe that this could be achieved at this point via a Conditions of Practice Order, particularly given the Applicant’s frank admission that physiotherapy is not regulated in Pakistan. The Panel accepted that the Applicant may return to the UK to comply with the terms of any conditions it imposed; however, it did not consider that he had demonstrated a firm commitment to working with experienced regulated professionals in a suitable clinical environment to develop his practice. Further, it considered that public and professional confidence in the Regulator would be undermined in the event that the Applicant was restored to the HCPC Register given the lack of insight and remorse of the Applicant in respect of his actions.

Order

The Panel refuses the application for restoration to the Register.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Rana H R Tipu

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
26/03/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Restoration Hearing Restoration not granted