Mrs Victoria J Booth
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Your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your physical health
Service of Notice and Proceeding in the Registrant’s Absence
1. The HCPC provided evidence that Notice of today’s hearing regarding the Voluntary Removal Agreement (VRA) had been sent by letter on 18 March 2019 to the Registrant’s registered address on the HCPC register. This contained details of the date, time and venue for today’s hearing and had been posted in sufficient time in advance of the hearing. The Panel was satisfied that the rules relating to service of Notice have been complied with.
2. Ms Iskander made an application to proceed with the hearing in the Registrant’s absence. The Registrant has acknowledged that this hearing is taking place and she has signed the VRA. Ms Iskander submitted that there was a public interest in the hearing proceeding and that coincided with the interests of the Registrant who wished to be removed and had signed the VRA. She submitted that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing and it was in the public interest, and in the Registrant’s own interests, that the hearing proceed.
3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor that if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel has the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. He reminded the Panel that it should exercise its discretion with care. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the HCPTS Practice Note on ‘Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant’ and to the case of GMC v Adeogba  EWCA Civ 162. This case makes clear that the first question the Panel should ask is whether all reasonable efforts have been made to serve the Registrant with notice. Thereafter, if the Panel is satisfied that proper notice has been given, the discretion whether or not to proceed must be exercised having regard to all the circumstances of which the Panel is aware, with fairness to the Registrant being a prime consideration. However, fairness to the HCPC and the interests of the public must also be taken into account.
4. The Panel agreed to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as it was satisfied that it is both in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interest to do so. In reaching this decision, the Panel has noted there has been no request for an adjournment and it balanced fairness to the Registrant with fairness to the HCPC and the public interest. No useful purpose would be served by adjourning the hearing. The Panel was of the view that the Registrant had voluntarily absented herself. She clearly wishes to take voluntary removal from the Register. The Panel took account of the fact that the VRA has been agreed and signed by the Registrant and returned to the HCPC. In these circumstances the Panel was satisfied that it is appropriate to proceed in her absence.
Hearing in private
5. Ms Iskander for the HCPC asked that the hearing take place in private given the health issues to be discussed. She submitted that there was no public interest in holding the hearing in public.
6. The Panel noted that it is a Panel of the Health Committee and so sits in private. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and decided that it would be appropriate to hold the hearing wholly in private given that this is a health case and involves consideration of matters related to the health of the Registrant. As such this is a redacted public copy of the private decision.
The Panel directs that the Interim Suspension Order be revoked on the basis that the Registrar will remove the name of Mrs Victoria J Booth from the Register from the Operative Date of the Voluntary Removal Agreement.
The order imposed today will apply from 3 May 2019 (the Operative Date).
History of Hearings for Mrs Victoria J Booth
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|03/05/2019||Health Committee||Voluntary Removal Agreement||Voluntary Removal agreed|