Mr Lee A Campbell
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Your fitness to practise as an Operating Department Practitioner is impaired by reason of your physical and / or mental health.
1. At the start of the hearing, the Registrant was neither present nor represented.
2. The chair invited Miss Brown to satisfy the Panel that the HCPTS had served notice of the proceedings on the Registrant in accordance with The Health and Care Professions Council (Health Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the Rules).
3. The Panel received evidence in the form of a Notice dated 18 September 2019, and a certificate of service which showed that Notice of the proceedings had been sent by first class post on 18 September 2019 to the address held by the HCPC on the Register of Operating Department Practitioners. The Panel saw that the notice gave the Registrant notice of the date, time and venue of the hearing.
4. The Panel had regard to Rule 3 of the Rules, which provides that the sending of a Notice under the Rules can be effected by sending it to the Registrant's address as it appears in the Register. It also had regard to Rule 6, which provides that a Registrant is entitled to 28 days’ notice of the hearing, starting on the day the notice is sent.
5. The Panel received the advice of the Legal Assessor, which it accepted.
6. In the light of the evidence above, the Panel was satisfied that the notice of the hearing had been served by post in accordance with the Rules.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
7. Ms Burke on behalf of the HCPC, invited the Panel to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.
8. She submitted first that the Panel was entitled to proceed in the absence of the Registrant because the Panel had found there had been good service under the Rules. She submitted secondly that the Panel should exercise its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant because all the evidence indicated that he had disengaged from the HCPC proceedings and voluntarily absented himself.
9. She reminded the Panel of the Notice referred to above, and drew the Panel’s attention to an email from the Registrant to the HCPTS dated 18 September 2019, which was written in reply to an email giving notice of the date and time of this hearing and said, “Hi – Sorry as stated in the past I will not be attending anymore hearings – kind regards – Lee”.
10. The Panel received the advice of the Legal Assessor, which it followed, and which is incorporated in its determination set out below.
11. Accordingly, the Panel approached the question in two stages. Firstly, it considered whether it was entitled to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. Secondly, it considered whether, in all the circumstances, it should exercise its discretion to do so.
12. The Panel had regard to the Notice of hearing.
13. The Panel had regard to Rules 3 and 6 of the Rules, referred to above and Rule 11, which provides that "where the health professional is neither present nor represented at a hearing, the committee may nevertheless proceed with the hearing if it is satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to serve the notice of the hearing under Rule 6 (1) on the health professional.”
14. Finally, the Panel had regard to the guidance given to panels by the Court of Appeal in GMC v Adeogba  EWCA Civ 162 that, in deciding whether reasonable steps had been taken to serve a registrant when Notice had been posted to his registered address, the Panel should bear in mind that a registrant is under an obligation to maintain an up-to-date address on the Regulator’s Register and that the Regulator’s “responsibility is very simple. It is to communicate with the practitioner at the address he has provided; neither more nor less. It is the practitioner’s obligation to ensure that the address is up to date”.
15. In these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that the HCPC had taken all reasonable steps to serve Notice of the proceedings on the Registrant by posting a Notice to the address held by the HCPC on the appropriate Register.
16. The Panel then considered whether it should exercise its discretion to proceed in the Registrant's absence.
17. The Panel had regard to the guidance given in the HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” (September 2018) and to the decision of the House of Lords in R v Jones  UKHL 5 and the further guidance given to panels by the Court of Appeal in GMC v Adeogba (above). It bore in mind that the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant should be exercised with great care and caution.
18. It looked at the nature and circumstances of the Registrant's absence, and in particular whether his absence was deliberate and voluntary so that it amounted to a waiver of his right to appear. It had regard to the fact that the Registrant had not attended the substantive hearing and had written to the HCPC on 24 and 27 July 2018 stating "As I have said before on many occasions I want nothing more to do with you so stop hassling me" and "As previously stated I will not be attending anymore hearings". It also had regard to the email from the Registrant dated 18 September 2019 and referred to above.
19. It also considered whether an adjournment was likely to result in the Registrant attending at a later date, the likely length of any such adjournment, and whether there was any indication that the Registrant wished to be represented. The Panel was satisfied that there is no evidence that an adjournment would secure the Registrant’s attendance or that he would wish to be represented at any future hearing.
20. The Panel accepted that a registrant will inevitably suffer prejudice by not being able to present his or her case. Nevertheless, the Panel balanced that against the public interest in allowing the HCPC to fulfil its duty to protect the public. The Panel bore in mind the guidance given by the Court of Appeal in GMC v Adeogba that, “It would run entirely counter to the protection, promotion and maintenance of the health and safety of the public if a practitioner could effectively frustrate the process and challenge a refusal to adjourn when that practitioner had deliberately failed to engage in the process.”
21. When assessing the public interest, the Panel had regard to the fact that this hearing is a mandatory review hearing under Article 30 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 and there was an interest in such reviews being dealt with promptly before the substantive Order expires on 8 November 2019.
22. In all the circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that there was no good reason to delay and it should exercise its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.
Hearing in Private
23. Ms Burke submitted that the entire hearing should be held in private because the case related exclusively to the Registrant’s health.
24. The Panel heard the advice of the Legal Assessor, which it accepted and incorporated into the decision set out below.
25. The Panel had regard to Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the ‘Rules’) which states:
“At any hearing
(a) the proceedings shall be held in public unless the Committee is satisfied that, in the interests of justice or for the protection of the private life of the registrant, the complainant, any person giving evidence or of any patient or client, the public should be excluded from all or part of the hearing;”
26. Accordingly, the Panel decided to hold the hearing in private because the evidence related to the Registrant’s health.
28. The Panel makes a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months from the expiry of the current Order.
ORDER: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Lee A Campbell for a further period of 12 months on the expiry of the existing Order.
The Order imposed today will apply from 8 November 2019.
This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 8 November 2020.