Mr Paul Perrett
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During the course of your employment as a locum Occupational Therapist for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, you:
1. Crossed professional boundaries with Service User A in that you:
a. Offered support to Service User A, which was outside of your role, to progress her application for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
b. Between 6 July 2016 and 23 August 2016, sent text messages to Service User A which did not relate to your role as an Occupational Therapist
c. Visited Service User A’s home, outside the scope of your work on or around the following dates:
ii. 7 July 2016
iii. 11 July 2016
iv. 14 July 2016
v. 19 July 2016
vi. 20 July 2016
vii. 24 July 2016
viii. Between 8 and 13 August 2016
ix. 23 August 2016
d. “air kissed” Service User A during the visits as set out in paragraph 1(c)(iv) – 1(c)(vii) above
e. On or around 14 July 2016, invited Service User A to visit your boat with you
f. During a visit which took place in the first week of August 2016, leaned back into Service User A and then turned and kissed Service User A on the cheek
g. During a visit which took place in the first week of August 2016, invited Service User A to go to a café with you
h. Between 8 and 13 August 2016, prepared and delivered and/or arranged delivery of a Compact Disk to Service User A’s home
i. On or around 23 August 2016, attempted to gain entry to Service User A’s property to do gardening work
2. The matters set out in paragraph 1(c) – 1(i) were sexually motivated.
3. The matters set out in paragraph 1 and/or 2 constitute as misconduct.
4. By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.
Additional Documentation provided at the hearing
1. There was no fresh documentation provided by the HCPC.
2. The Registrant provided the Panel with a one-page document entitled “Statement from Paul Perrett for HCPC hearing 29-10-19”.
3. The Panel requested, and was provided with, the document entitled 'For the HCPC', which had been produced by the Registrant at the previous review hearing on 29 April 2019. The Panel also had before it the decisions of the previous panels.
4. The Registrant was engaged by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council ('the Council') to work as a locum Occupational Therapist from 3 March 2015.
5. On 6 July 2016 an appointment was made for Service User A to be assessed by the Registrant after she had contacted the Council for assistance.
6. Between 6 July 2016 and 23 August 2016, the Registrant had contact with Service User A on a number of occasions.
7. On 24 August 2016, Service User A telephoned the Council to make a complaint regarding the Registrant. The essence of the complaint was that the Registrant had overstepped professional boundaries by attempting to instigate a personal friendship/relationship with Service User A.
8. The HCPC substantive hearing took place between 29 and 31 January 2018. The Registrant did not attend the hearing. The facts found proved as set out in the head of this document, were found to amount to misconduct and the Registrant’s fitness to practice was found to be impaired. A 9 month suspension order was imposed.
9. At the review hearing on 19 October 2018, which the Registrant did not attend, the review panel concluded that his fitness to practice remained impaired. It concluded that whilst the Registrant had provided a reflective piece which demonstrated some positive insight, the reflection was incomplete in two ways. Firstly, by referring to his own personal life, the Registrant had failed to accept full responsibility for his actions. Secondly, the Registrant had failed to acknowledge how his actions had impacted Service User A and/or the reputation of the profession. The review panel was satisfied that the wider public interest required a finding of impairment given the risk of repetition and the absence of full acknowledgement on the part of the Registrant. The review panel therefore decided to impose a further 6 month period of suspension.
10. At the second review hearing on 26 April 2019 the Registrant attended by telephone. That panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practice remained impaired. That panel recognised that the regulatory process had been a salutary one for the Registrant, and commended the Registrant for engaging and attending the hearing. However it was not satisfied that the Registrant had demonstrated full insight into his misconduct. That panel was not convinced by the Registrant's explanation and understanding of appropriate professional boundaries, and was not satisfied that he had learned from his mistakes. That panel was also concerned that the Registrant's reflective piece did not fully address how the Registrant's conduct had impacted the Service User. That panel concluded that it was not confident that the Registrant had developed the required insight or that he had remediated his failings and therefore could not be confident that his behaviour would not be repeated. That panel also concluded that public confidence in the profession would be undermined should the Registrant be permitted to return to unrestricted practice. Accordingly, that panel concluded that the Registrant's fitness to practice remained impaired on both the personal and public components. That panel decided to extend the Suspension Order for a further six months to allow the Registrant time to reflect further and to demonstrate insight into his misconduct.
11. That panel considered that a future panel may be assisted by the following:
i. a written reflective piece focusing on the decision of the Panel and the impact of the Registrant's actions on others and the wider profession;
ii. written evidence that the Registrant has kept his skills and knowledge up to date such as any continuing professional development courses undertaken;
iii. written evidence of any reading or reflection regarding professional boundaries and what impact not maintaining professional boundaries may have on service users; and
iv. written evidence concerning any formal or informal discussions that he may have had with an informal supervisor.
12. The Registrant chose not to give evidence, preferring on this occasion to provide submissions.
13. Ms Navarro submitted that the Registrant had not provided the material suggested by the Panel on the last occasion, despite being given time to reflect and demonstrate insight into his misconduct. She submitted that this was now the third review and that the appropriate order was now one of a Striking Off Order.
14. The Registrant accepted that he had not signed up for any courses or training. He said that he no longer wanted to work as an Occupational Therapist. He said that he felt badly about what he had done and did not want to cause any further hurt to anyone. He said that he is currently happy with his work as a gardener. He wanted an end to the proceedings. He conceded that a striking off order is the best way forward.
The Panel’s Approach
15. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised on the meaning of current impairment, including the criteria set out in the cases of Cohen v GMC  EWHC 581 and Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence v (1) Nursing and Midwifery Council (2) Paula Grant  EWHC 927. She advised on the factors to be taken into account when considering sanction, including the fact that the purpose of sanction is not to be punitive, but is to protect the public, maintain standards of professional conduct and uphold public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process. She urged the Panel to consult the HCPC’s Sanctions Policy.
16. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practice remains currently impaired.
17. The Panel took into account the fact that the Registrant had not provided any of the material suggested by the last review panel, except for his one page reflective piece of writing. The Panel concluded that the Registrant is no further forward in the development of his insight. The Panel concluded that the only change since the last hearing date has been negative rather than positive in nature, since the Registrant has now concluded that he no longer wants to practice as an Occupational Therapist. In those circumstances the Panel could not be confident that the Registrant would not repeat his misconduct if permitted to practice unrestricted. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practice is currently impaired by reason of the personal component.
18. The Panel also concluded that public confidence in the profession would be undermined if the Registrant were to be permitted to return to unrestricted practice, and that the Registrant’s fitness to practice is currently impaired by reason of the public component.
19. Accordingly the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practice remains impaired on both the personal and public components.
20. In considering the issue of sanction, the Panel concluded that a Caution Order is clearly inadequate to protect the public in the serious circumstances of this case.
21. The Panel concluded that a Conditions of Practice order is inappropriate given the Registrant’s expressed desire not to return to practice.
22. The Panel concluded that a further period of Suspension is inappropriate given the seriousness of the misconduct, the lack of adequate insight and the Registrant’s attitudinal approach to his profession. It is clear that the Registrant has taken inadequate steps to demonstrate to this Panel his suitability to remain on the register. He has expressed his desire not to return to practice and has agreed that a striking off order is now the appropriate order in the circumstances.
23. The Panel concluded that a striking off order is the appropriate sanction. The Panel understands that this is the most serious of all sanctions. However the Registrant has been provided with several opportunities to demonstrate that he has developed adequate insight and that he no longer poses a risk to the public and the wider public interest. He has not managed to achieve this. The Panel acknowledged that engagement with these proceedings has been difficult for the Registrant in the circumstances. However it is clear to all, including the Registrant himself, that a striking off order is now the appropriate and proportionate order in the circumstances of the case. A striking off order is now required for the protection of the public, and to reaffirm clear standards of professional conduct and maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process
ORDER: The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Paul Perrett from the Register on the date this Order comes into effect.
The Order imposed today will apply from 28 November 2019.
Right of Appeal
You may appeal to the High Court in England and Wales against the Panel’s decision and the Order it has made against you.
Under Articles 30(10) and 38 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made to the court not more than 28 days after the date when this notice is served on you.
European Alert Mechanism
In accordance with Regulation 67 of the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015, the HCPC will inform the competent authorities in all other EEA States that your right to practise has been prohibited.
You may appeal to the County Court against the HCPC’s decision to do so. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you. This right of appeal is separate from your right to appeal against the decision and order of the Panel.