Mr James Davies

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA38005

Hearing Type: Consent Order Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 18/11/2019 End: 17:00 18/11/2019

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

While registered as a Paramedic with the Health and Care Professions Council,

1. On 31 January 2018, you received a conditional discharge for an offence of
criminal damage.

2. The matter set out at particular 1 amounts to misconduct.

3. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise as a Paramedic is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Application to Amend

1. Mr Millin made an application to amend the Allegation by deleting reference to a ‘conviction’ and replacing it with ‘…you received a conditional discharge for an offence of criminal damage.’ Mr Short did not object to the proposed amendment.

2. The Panel noted that the Registrant had been put on notice of the proposed amendment. The Panel was satisfied that it more accurately reflects the status of a conditional discharge and that no injustice would be caused by re-wording the Allegation.

Background

3. The Registrant is a registered Paramedic. On 15 March 2018, the HCPC received a referral by the Registrant’s ex-partner who raised concerns regarding the Registrant’s behaviour during their relationship. The Complainant had raised these concerns with the police, which had led to the Registrant’s arrest.

4. On 31 January 2018, at Lancashire Magistrates Court, the Registrant received an 18 month Conditional Discharge for the offence of criminal damage, contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971. The Registrant was also issued with a restraining order on this date which remained in force until 31 January 2019.

5. On 17 June 2019, a Panel of the Investigating Committee determined that there was a case to answer in respect of the conditional discharge.

6. The Allegation against the Registrant (as amended) is as follows:


1. On 31 January 2018, you received a conditional discharge for an offence of criminal damage.
2. The matter set out at particular 1 amounts to misconduct.
3. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

7. The case was listed as a substantive hearing. However, Mr Millin invited the Panel to exercise its case management powers in order to consider a disposal by consent. He explained that during October 2019 and November 2019 the Registrant’s representative was in discussions with the HCPC with regard to disposal by consent in the form of a 2 year Caution Order. Mr Millin informed the Panel that, unfortunately, a formal offer of disposal by way of consent could not be finalised in time to avoid the case being listed as a substantive hearing.

Submissions

8. Mr Millin, on behalf of the HCPC, confirmed that the Registrant has admitted the facts, that his conditional discharge amounts to misconduct and that his fitness to practise is impaired. He submitted that the proposed Consent Order would maintain public confidence in the profession and would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

9. Mr Short, on behalf of the Registrant, submitted that the Registrant has demonstrated remorse and considerable insight. He stated that the Registrant deeply regrets the personal circumstances which led to the conditional discharge and fully appreciates that by his actions he undermined the trust and confidence of his colleagues and the reputation and standing of the profession as a whole. Mr Short informed the Panel that the Registrant is a good paramedic and that there is a public interest in permitting him to continue to provide his skills to the public. He submitted that a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate as the misconduct does not relate to his clinical ability. He further submitted that a Suspension Order would be punitive.

Panel’s Approach

10. Prior to reaching a decision, on the proposed Consent Order, the Panel carefully considered all of the information and evidence within the hearing bundle, including the Allegation, the Registrant’s reflective statement dated 17 October 2019, his character references and the terms of the Order itself.

11. The Panel took into account the guidance contained within the HCPC Practice Note:  Disposal of Cases By Consent which states that a panel should not agree to resolve a case in this way unless it is satisfied of two things: firstly, that the appropriate level of public protection is being secured and, secondly, that doing so would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

12. The Practice Note also states that:
“…any remedial action proposed by the registrant and to be embodied in the Consent Order is consistent with the expected outcome if the case was to proceed to a contested hearing.”

13. In assessing the appropriateness of the proposed Consent Order, the Panel carefully considered the balance between its duty to protect the public and the interests of the Registrant. The Panel also had regard to the HCPC Sanctions Policy and took into account paragraph 101 which states:

‘A caution order is likely to be an appropriate sanction for cases in which:
 
• the issue is isolated, limited, or relatively minor in nature;

• there is a low risk of repetition;

• the registrant has shown good insight; and

• the registrant has undertaken appropriate remediation.

14. The Panel noted that, if it was content to do so, it could conclude the case on an expedited basis, based on the terms of the draft Consent Order, subject to variation if appropriate. Alternatively, the Panel could reject the proposal and set the case down for a full substantive hearing.

Decision

15. The Panel noted that the Allegation has been admitted in full and concluded that based on the documentary evidence the particulars of the Allegation were capable of being found proved on the balance of probabilities.

16. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had demonstrated an appropriate level of insight by recognising the serious nature of the Allegation. In particular, the Panel identified the following mitigating factors:
• the Registrant made substantial admissions at an early stage;
• he reported himself to his management team;
• he took immediate steps to reflect on his conduct and behaviour;
• the incident occurred when the Registrant was experiencing significant personal difficulties associated with the breakdown of a long-term relationship.

17. The Panel balanced the mitigating factors against the aggravating factors. The Panel concluded that the aggravating factors are the fact that the incident occurred in a work place carpark which was witnessed by others.

18. In all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that approval of the proposed Consent Order, subject to some variation, was both proportionate and appropriate. In reaching the conclusion that the case should be disposed of by way of a Consent Order the Panel noted that the Registrant’s actions were an isolated incident and are unlikely to be repeated. The Registrant is now working in a different geographical location. The impact was limited in that although his behaviour reflected poorly on his personal standing as a paramedic and the profession as a whole, it did not directly undermine patient care. The Panel noted that the Registrant had taken steps to reflect on his actions and has expressed remorse and a willingness to learn from the experience. Furthermore, the Registrant’s engagement with these regulatory proceedings strongly demonstrates a commitment to upholding, in future, high standards expected of registered paramedics.

19. The Panel also determined that there is a legitimate public interest in avoiding a substantive hearing, in circumstances where full admissions have been made to an Allegation and where the Registrant has consented to being made subject to a Caution Order.  The Panel took the view that a Caution Order is appropriate and realistic. However, taking into account the Sanctions Policy, the Panel took the view that the Caution Order should be for a period of 12 months. The Panel concluded that this period would adequately reflect the seriousness of the Registrant’s unacceptable behaviour. This period would also acknowledge the low risk of repetition in light of his engagement with the regulatory process and the level and scope of his insight. The Panel took the view that a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate because practice restrictions are not required and that a Suspension Order would be disproportionate and punitive.

20. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that a 12 month Caution Order is proportionate and will not undermine public protection or the wider public interest.

Order

That the Registrar be directed to annotate the Register to show that for a period of 12 months from the date that this Order comes into effect you, James Davies will be subject to a Caution Order.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr James Davies

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
18/11/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Consent Order Hearing Caution