Mr Abid Hussain

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: FTP43184 /FTP48872

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 10/05/2019 End: 12:30 10/05/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: No further action

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Allegation

Between August 2014 and December 2015 while registered as a Social Worker:
1. During the course of your employment as a Social Worker at Mersey Care NHS Trust from August 2014 to April 2015 you:
a) In relation to Service User A:
i. Did not make and / or record making, regular visits to Service User A when she was an in-patient during August 2014 to on or around 2 January 2015;
ii. Did not attend the discharge planning review held on or around 16 January 2015 and / or 2 January 2015;
iii. Did not record that Service User A had declined any follow up after a safeguarding referral was raised on or around 4 November 2014;
iv. Conducted and / or recorded conducting, contact with Service User A on her doorstep on or around 22 January 2015;
v. You attempted contact with Service User A on 23 January 2015 but were not able to locate her and did not follow up and / or record following up, with Service User A;
vi. Did not complete and / or record completing a care plan for Service User A as instructed.
b) In relation to Service User B, were allocated the case on or around 26 August 2014 and:
i. You did not contact and / or make a record of contact with, Service User B until 26 February 2015;
ii. You did not make face to face contact with Service User B until on or around 10 March 2015;
iii. You did not record a CPA care plan in a timely manner and / or at all.
c) In relation to Service User C, were allocated the case on or around 26 August 2014 and:
i. You did not attempt to contact and / or make a record of attempted contact with Service User C until 25th February 2015;
ii. You were reminded to contact Service User C on or around 19 December 2014, but did not do so in a timely manner and / or record doing so;
iii. You were reminded to contact Service User C on or around 16 January 2015 but did not do so in a timely manner and / or record doing so;
iv. [Not Proved]
v. You did not meet, and / or record meeting Service User C during the period you were his allocated social worker.
d) In relation to Service User D you were allocated two separate safeguarding referrals on or around 11 and on or around 17 December 2014 and:
i. You did not attempt to make contact and / or did not record such attempt until 22 December 2014;
ii. You did not conduct and / or record conducting sufficient safeguarding referral investigations;
iii. [Not Proved]
iv. You did not liaise and / or record liaising with any professionals involved in Service User D’s care.
e) In relation to Service User E, you did not conduct and / or record conducting a safeguarding referral investigation.
f) In relation to Service User F:
i. You did not make and / or record making contact with Service User F;
ii. You did not conduct and / or record conducting a safeguarding referral investigation.
g) In relation to Service User G, were allocated the case on or around 26 August 2014 and:
i. You did not contact and / or make a record of contact with Service User G until 2 March 2015;
ii. You were reminded to contact Service User G on or around 19 December 2014 but did not do so and / or record doing so;
iii. You were reminded to contact Service User G on or around 16 January 2015 but did not do so and / or record doing so;
iv. You did not draft and / or amend the CPA care plan after your face to face contact with Service User G on 10 March 2015;
v. You did not record risk assessment documentation after your face to face contact with Service User G on 10 March 2015 and / or 30 March 2015.
2. During the recruitment process at Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust you:
a) On or around 26 October 2015, did not disclose on your application form that:
i. There was an on-going Health and Care Professions Council investigation into your fitness to practice;
ii. [Not Proved]
b) On or around 29 December 2015, on your pre-employment declaration form, answered ‘no’ to the following questions:
i. Are you currently or have you ever been the subject of any investigation or fitness to practise proceedings by any licensing or regulatory body in the United Kingdom or in any other country?
ii. Are you currently bound over, or do you have any convictions or cautions (including warnings and reprimands) which are not deemed ‘protected’ under the amendment to the Exceptions Order 1975, issued by a Court or Court-Martial in the United Kingdoms or in any other country?
iii. [Not Proved]
3. The matters described in paragraph 2 were dishonest.
4. The matters described in paragraph 1 constitute misconduct and / or lack of competence.
5. The matters set out in paragraphs 2 – 3 constitute misconduct.
6. By reason of your misconduct and / or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Facts Proved: 1(a)(i) – (vi), 1(b)(i) – (iii), 1(c)(i) – (iii), 1(c)(v), 1(e), 1(f)(i) – (ii), 1(g)(i) – (v), 2(a)(i), 2(b)(i) – (ii) and 3 in respect of 2(b)(ii).
Facts Not Proved:  1(c)(iv), 1(d)(iii), 2(a)(ii), 2(b)(iii) and 3 in respect of 2(a)(i) and 2(b)(i).

Finding

Background
1. The Registrant was an agency Social Worker employed at Mersey Care NHS Trust (the Trust) in its Park Lodge Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) from 26 August 2014. The CMHT was an integrated multi-disciplinary team which worked with service users who had severe and enduring mental health problems. The Registrant’s role was to assess service users, prepare care plans and review risk and act as care coordinator using the Care Programme Approach (CPA).

2. Concerns about the Registrant’s practice were raised April 2015 with regard to a Service User A who had died in February 2015, and the Trust also conducted an investigation into his practice in general.

3. The substantive hearing panel found proven four particulars related to the Registrant’s failure to follow instructions given in support of his practice. The Registrant’s failure to carry out contact with Service Users C and G were each after two reminders being given in supervision. These were Particulars 1(c)(ii), 1(c)(iii), 1(g)(ii) and 1(g)(iii). The substantive hearing panel found these failures amounted to a breach of the HCPC’s “Standards of Conduct, performance & ethics” and a breach of the HCPC’s “Standards of proficiency”.

4. The substantive hearing panel also found proven Particular 3 in relation to the Registrant’s dishonesty in Particular 2(b)(ii). This was the Registrant’s failure to correctly answer a pre-employment declaration form which required him to disclose a conviction which dated back to 1992. The Registrant’s evidence was that he had always previously disclosed it and was well aware that the disclosure invariably led to an additional interview to discuss it. That panel found that the Registrant dishonestly chose not to declare it on this occasion. Dishonesty by a social worker in the context of applying for employment, in the panel’s view, can only be regarded as serious. The Registrant was well aware of the importance of disclosing that conviction and his decision not to disclose it was, the panel determined, misconduct, not a matter of lack of competence.

5. As regards the dishonesty, the substantive hearing panel acknowledged that this only occurred on one occasion and there was no attempt to otherwise cover up the 1992 conviction; it had been the Registrant who sought to have a conversation about the conviction with his manager. The substantive hearing panel concluded that the risk of repetition of dishonesty was low because the Registrant now fully accepts that he must always take care to disclose his conviction. For the public and personal components, that panel concluded that there was no need for a finding of impairment with regard to the dishonesty.

6. The substantive hearing panel, in finding that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired in relation to the particulars found proved and that they amounted to misconduct, stated:
“The Panel carefully considered the nature and context of the misconduct. The Panel concluded that the Registrant was working in an environment of low morale, that the department was badly organised and for part of the time there was only one manager covering the team when there should have been three. However, the Panel concluded that there was a real concern over his inability to recognise his lack of personal resilience at the relevant time and his belief that he could not approach his managers for support; neither did he seek any other kind of support. This did not show sufficient regard to the risks to service users that could arise from his failure to take personal responsibility and his failure to be more pro-active in his management of his cases.
At that time the Registrant had not worked in social work for two years and has not displayed a significant amount of insight into his failings. Consequently, there has been no active remediation and this has been combined with a lack of steps being taken to keep his skills and knowledge up to date.
As regards the dishonesty, the Panel acknowledged that this only occurred on one occasion and there was no attempt to otherwise cover up the 1992 conviction; it had been the Registrant who sought to have a conversation about the conviction with his manager. The Panel concluded that the risk of repetition of dishonesty was low because the Registrant now fully accepts that he must always take care to disclose his conviction. For the public and personal components, the Panel concluded that there was no need for a finding of impairment with regard to the dishonesty.
However, there was a need for a finding of impairment in respect of the wide-ranging and significant failings in regard to key tasks of the Registrant as a Social Worker employed as a care co-ordinator. These were high risk service users and the Registrant’s role had been to co-ordinate their access to appropriate and timely services and assistance. The Registrant had failed those service users and the public would rightly expect those proven failings to lead to a finding of impairment.”

7. The panel at the substantive hearing in January 2018 and May 2018 determined that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was to impose a Suspension Order for 12 months to reflect the seriousness of the misconduct and the need to maintain public confidence in the profession and its regulator.

8. The determining panel stated that the Suspension Order would be reviewed by another panel before its expiry. That panel identified that a reviewing panel may be assisted by the Registrant’s attendance and:
a) any evidence of the steps taken by the Registrant to keep his skills and knowledge up to date, for instance, with regard to any changes in legislation, policy and practice;
b) a reflective piece in writing:
(i) demonstrating the Registrant’s understanding of the reasons why regular contact with service users and accurate and up to date record-keeping are important.

Decision
9. Ms Whitby, on behalf of the HCPC, submitted that the decision on impairment was a matter for the professional judgement of the Panel. Ms Whitby accepted that the Registrant had engaged with the HCPC and had sent in documents, providing evidence in the areas identified by the substantive hearing panel. She acknowledged the testimonials supplied by the Registrant and commended the extensive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) he has undertaken.

10. Ms Whitby submitted the Registrant still remains impaired. She stated the allegations found proved were serious and wide ranging and although the Registrant has undertaken CPD, he is still only developing insight. Ms Whitby submitted the Registrant has not shown sufficient insight into the risks arising from the absence of records and the need for record keeping. Ms Whitby invited the Panel to replace the Suspension Order with a Conditions of Practice Order on the Registrant’s practice requiring indirect supervision and addressing areas of CPD.

11. The Registrant submitted written documentation for the Panel’s consideration, which included a written reflective piece, highly positive references from a fellow professional who had worked with the Registrant in his role as a Social Worker, his current employer and an employment consultancy who had previously placed the Registrant in work. The Registrant further submitted CPD certificates demonstrating successful completion of relevant courses. He also gave evidence on affirmation and identified the insight he had developed through CPD and reflection.

12. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel considered the practice guidance in assessing whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired and exercised its independent judgement in determining whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired. It kept in mind the need to protect the public, to maintain public confidence in the profession, and to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.

13. The Panel found the Registrant’s submissions and the information submitted in evidence to be open, honest and consistent. In the Panel’s judgement, the Registrant has fully engaged with and shown respect for the regulatory process. The Panel noted the positive testimonials and the extensive CPD undertaken as well as the reflective piece submitted. The Registrant accepted responsibility for his actions and had addressed and recognised where he went wrong and how he could have handled the situation differently. He acknowledged that he had continued to work when he knew he could not do so adequately without support, but fully accepted that no one else was to blame for his actions. The Registrant demonstrated that he also understood that following the incident, the public perception of social workers would be adversely affected.

14. The Panel was of the view that the Registrant, through his written submissions and his oral evidence, now shows fully developed insight into his past misconduct and the Panel considers that he has provided evidence in all the areas suggested by the previous panel concerning what might assist this Panel. The Panel has found this evidence of great assistance, and in particular, given the strong insight, the Panel is satisfied that there is no significant risk of repetition.

15. In the past, the Registrant’s actions have placed the public at risk of harm, breached the fundamental tenets of the profession and brought the profession into disrepute. However, in light of all the material provided to it and the Registrant’s submissions and oral evidence, the Panel finds that there is no significant risk that he will do so again in the future.

16. The Panel is conscious of the need to declare and uphold proper standard of conduct and behaviour and finds that, in the circumstances of this case, this will have been achieved by the time of the expiry of the existing 12 month Suspension Order.

17. The Panel finds that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is no longer impaired and directs that the existing order should lapse on its expiry.

Order

The Registrar is directed to revoke the Suspension Order of the registration of Mr Abid Hussain from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Abid Hussain

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
10/05/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action