Miss Georgina E Mudge

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH44945

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 11/11/2019 End: 17:00 11/11/2019

Location: Ramada Plaza Wrexham, Ellice Way, Wrexham LL13 7YH

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

While registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as a physiotherapist:

1. On 3 January 2018 at Caernarfon Magistrates’ Court you were convicted of:

a) On 13/12/2018 driving a motor vehicle on a road, namely A55 Llanfairferchan Conwy, after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in your breath, namely 58 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeded the prescribed limit. Contrary to section 5(1) (a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

2. By reason of your conviction, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service of Notice of Hearing

1. The Panel was informed by the hearings officer that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s registered address by letter dated 9 October 2019. The Panel was satisfied that notice had been properly served as required by the Rules.

Proceeding in absence

2. Ms Simpson applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that the Panel’s discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence should only be exercised with the utmost care and caution.

3. The Panel was satisfied that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s registered address by letter dated 9 October 2019 and has been served in accordance with the rules. 
4. The Panel noted the contents of an email from the Registrant’s Solicitor to the HCPC dated 1 November 2019, which acknowledged that she had received the bundle for the hearing and would not be attending or represented at the hearing. The Registrant’s Solicitor requested that the Panel concluded the case on the basis of the draft Consent Order. The Panel also noted the contents of another email from the Registrant’s solicitor dated 6 November 2019, which confirmed that the Registrant had seen and agreed the contents of the HCPC Skeleton Argument dated 4 November 2019. In that email, the Registrant’s solicitor again requested that the matter be concluded by way of the draft Consent Order.

5. The Panel noted that the purpose of this hearing was to consider the terms of a consent order agreed between the HCPC and the Registrant. The Panel also noted that the Registrant had signed a draft order and had engaged with the HCPC in this process. It was clear that she had voluntarily absented herself and specifically asked for this hearing to proceed without her. The Panel considered that it was in the public interest and in the Registrant’s interests that the Consent Order should be considered expeditiously. Accordingly, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Background

6. On 18 December 2018 the North Wales Police referred the Registrant to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as she had been charged with driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol on 13 December 2018. The Registrant was convicted on 3 January 2019 and the HCPC drafted an allegation based on this conviction. On 27 February 2019 the Registrant provided submissions to the Investigating Committee Panel in which she admitted the allegation and expressed her remorse for her actions. The HCPC reviewed the case and considered the matter suitable for disposal by way of consent. The HCPC determined a two year Caution Order would be proportionate in these circumstances. The Registrant was therefore asked to confirm her position in respect of disposing of the case by means of consent to a two year Caution Order.

7. The Registrant engaged a representative who contacted the HCPC on 03 October 2019 confirming that she wished to proceed with the Consent Order and did not contest the allegation. This was confirmed in writing by the Registrant by way of an email sent on 03 October 2019.

8. The Registrant subsequently signed the Consent Order, thereby accepting that her current fitness to practise is impaired and confirming that she consented to the two year Caution Order.

Decision

9. The Panel heard submissions from Ms Simpson who referred it to the terms of the Consent Order signed on behalf of the HCPC and the Registrant, dated 9 October 2019 and to the HCPC Skeleton Argument. Ms Simpson submitted that in the circumstances of this case, the making of a Caution Order for a period of 2 years, would be appropriate and proportionate. Ms Simpson referred the Panel to the terms of the Consent Order, in particular that the Registrant had admitted the allegation and in doing so had demonstrated insight and had engaged in the fitness to practise process.

10. Ms Simpson referred the Panel to the email correspondence between the HCPC and the Registrant’s Solicitors in which she has admitted that her fitness to practise is impaired as a result of her conviction and was prepared to accept a Consent Order that a Caution Order for 2 years be imposed.

11. The Panel received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the HCPC practice note, “disposal of cases by consent” and to the guidance on indicative sanctions.


12. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of her conviction for driving with excess alcohol. The Panel took into account that there are no general health concerns or any other concerns about the Registrant’s practice as a Physiotherapist. The Panel considered, however, that public confidence in the profession and in the HCPC as its regulator would be undermined were a finding of impairment not made. A conviction for driving with excess alcohol is serious. The Registrant was approximately 1½ times over the legal limit and at the time, she thought that she was fit to drive. The potential for her causing harm was high and it was fortunate that nobody was hurt. Accordingly, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s fitness to practice is impaired as a result of her conviction.

13. In considering the appropriate and proportionate sanction, the Panel considered that taking no further action would be insufficient to mark the seriousness of the conviction and would not proportionately deal with the damage caused to the reputation of the profession and the need to maintain proper standards of conduct and behaviour.


14. The Panel was satisfied that through her admissions and expressions of remorse in her emails to the HCPC, the Registrant had demonstrated insight on the damage to the reputation of her profession.

15. The Panel carefully considered the proposed draft Consent Order. It considered that the Registrant had demonstrated insight and remorse. She also has a long and unblemished record as a Physiotherapist and is highly thought of by professional colleagues as shown in the reference provided on her behalf. She has taken remedial steps by doing a driving course as a result of which the length of her driving disqualification has been reduced. The Panel also considered that the Registrant’s conviction was highly unlikely to be repeated. The Panel also noted that there are no underlying health or any other concerns and that her employer had explored whether that was the case.


16. Taking all matters into consideration, the Panel was satisfied that the proposed Caution Order for 2 years was sufficient to secure the appropriate level of public protection.

17. The Panel carefully considered whether disposing of this case by consent would be detrimental to the wider public interest, having due regard to the nature of the conviction for driving with excess alcohol.

18. The Panel recognised that members of the public would expect impairment as a result of a conviction, to be dealt with robustly and where appropriate, in public.

19. The Panel carefully considered whether the public interest required that this matter be referred to a substantive hearing in public. The Panel had further regard to all of the matters listed in paragraphs 13 to 17 above. The Panel considered that a well-informed member of the public who was aware of the Registrant’s early admission, insight, remorse and her previous exemplary character, would not require a public hearing in this case.


20. For all of the above reasons, the Panel concluded that the disposal of this case by consent as proposed, would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

Order

The Consent Order signed by the HCPC and the Registrant on 9 October 2019 be approved and that Registrant be subject to a Caution Order for a period of 2 years.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Georgina E Mudge

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
11/11/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Caution