Miss Michelle Metcalf

Profession: Chiropodist / podiatrist

Registration Number: CH13827

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 14/11/2019 End: 12:30 14/11/2019

Location: HCPTS, 405 Kenningotn Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

Allegation:

Whilst registered as a Chiropodist with the Health & Care Professions Council, you:

1) On 18 May 2017 at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court, were convicted of driving a motor vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in your breath, namely 94 microgrammes 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
1. The Panel was informed that the notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s address on 17 October 2019. The Notice was also sent to the Registrant by email on the 17 October 2019. The Panel was satisfied that notice was served in accordance with the Rules.

Proceeding in absence
2. Ms Navarro applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. She informed the Panel that the Registrant had failed to engage with the HCPC in relation to this review hearing and had not responded to the notice of hearing. Ms Navarro informed the Panel that the last communication from the Registrant was an email dated 17 January 2019 in which the Registrant stated that she did not wish to have her name removed from the Register. Ms Navarro also informed the Panel that attempts had been made by the HCPC to contact the Registrant by telephone, however, the number did not connect.

3. The Panel considered that the Registrant was aware of this review hearing and had voluntarily absented herself. The Panel also considered that no purpose would be served by adjourning this mandatory review hearing as there was no indication that by doing so, the Registrant would attend on a future date. The Panel also took into account the public interest in the review proceeding today, given that the current order is due to expire on 14 December 2019. For all these reasons, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

Background
4. On 18 May 2017 the Registrant was convicted at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court of the offence of driving a motor vehicle on 22 February 2017 after having consumed excess alcohol. The breath test administered showed her to have 94 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The maximum level of alcohol in breath permitted by law is 35 microgrammes.

5. The Registrant was sentenced to a term of 4 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months. The Memorandum of Conviction provided by the Magistrates’ Court records that this was not the Registrant’s first conviction for driving with excess alcohol. Alongside other additional sentence provisions relating to costs and the payment of a victim surcharge, the Registrant was also made the subject of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement of up to 25 days and she was disqualified from driving for 40 months.

Decision
6. The Panel heard submissions from Ms Navarro who submitted that, given the Registrant’s non-engagement and further concerns which had been raised, a Striking Off Order would be appropriate and proportionate. The Panel received and accepted advice from the Legal Assessor.

7. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise was still impaired. The Panel noted clear and unambiguous guidance from the previous Panel as to what would assist a future review panel. The Registrant had failed to provide any material whatsoever which demonstrated insight and remediation.

8. This Panel concluded that in the absence of any engagement by the Registrant there was a risk of repetition and that her fitness to practise remained impaired on the personal component of impairment. This Panel also concluded that the public would be very concerned that the Registrant has taken no steps to remediate her conduct which gives rise to a risk of repetition. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired on the public component of impairment.

Sanction 
9. The Panel had regard to the Sanctions Policy. It bore in mind that the purpose of any sanction was not to punish the Registrant but to protect the public and maintain public confidence.
10. The Panel considered that Registrant’s criminal conviction was very serious. It was not the Registrant’s first offence of driving with excess alcohol. The Panel noted the severe penalty which was imposed on conviction, which reflected the very high reading on the intoximeter and that it was a repeat offence.

11. The Panel was also presented with information in the HCPC bundle which suggested the Registrant had continued to practise as a Chiropodist whilst being suspended and had dishonestly claimed that she was still allowed to practise when that was not true. The HCPC has requested that the Registrant give her account in relation to this additional allegation, but she has not responded.

12. The Panel also considered that the Registrant had chosen wilfully to disregard the suggestions of the previous panel as to the material she could provide to assist this review Panel.

13. In view of the Registrant’s non-engagement, the Panel was not able to formulate any workable or practicable conditions. It was also of the view that, given the nature of the Registrant’s conviction, conditions of practice would not be appropriate or sufficient to protect the public.

14. The Panel carefully considered whether to impose a further period of suspension. The Panel concluded that no purpose would be achieved by a further period of suspension, nor would that achieve remediation of the Registrant’s conduct which gave rise to her conviction.

15. In all of the circumstances, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s conviction, which is aggravated by her lack of engagement and lack of insight or remediation, was fundamentally incompatible with her remaining on the Register. The Panel determined that the only proportionate sanction was a Striking Off Order.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Ms Michelle Metcalf from the Register on the date this order comes into effect

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply from 14 December 2019.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Michelle Metcalf

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
14/11/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
16/11/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended