Ms Rachael Thompson
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By reason of your health,your fitness to practise as a Physiotherapist is impaired.
The Panel was provided with a copy of the Notice sent by email to the Registrant’s registered email address on 22 June 2020, setting out the time, date and remote nature of this review hearing and inviting the Registrant to attend the virtual hearing. The Notice also explained the possibility of the Panel proceeding without the Registrant in the event that she did not attend. The Panel was thus satisfied with service in this case.
Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant
2. The Registrant did not attend the review hearing, nor did she respond to the Notice of Hearing. Her last direct communication with the HCPC was an email dated 23 October 2016, in which she stated that she had left the country to engage in private health treatment.
3. Ms Ktisti, on behalf of the HCPC, made an application to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. She told the Panel that there had been no contact from the Registrant since 2016.
4. When deciding whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel took into account the submissions made by Ms Ktisti and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It bore in mind that, although it had a discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, this discretion should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. The Panel was cognisant of the fact that its purpose was to undertake a statutory review of a Suspension Order before the date on which it was due to expire.
5. The Panel noted that the Registrant has not engaged with these proceedings and did not attend the substantive hearing in 2018, or the reviews of the substantive order in February 2019 and February 2020, and that all the hearings went ahead in her absence. The Panel noted that the Registrant had not requested an adjournment and had not in fact engaged with this process since 2016. There was, therefore, nothing to suggest the Registrant would attend on another occasion, if this matter were to be adjourned.
6. In light of the Registrant’s complete lack of engagement with the HCPC and these proceedings, the Panel decided that she had voluntarily absented herself and thereby waived her right to be present. The Panel considered there was a public interest in the matter proceeding and it was also in the Registrant’s own interests that the Order be reviewed.
7. In all the circumstances, the Panel decided to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.
Application to proceed in private
8. Ms Ktisti applied for the entirety of the hearing to be heard in private, on the basis that the Panel was sitting as a panel of the Health Committee and that all matters essentially concerned the Registrant’s health.9. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It had regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note: Conducting Hearings in Private. The Panel was of the view that the case exclusively related to matters concerning the Registrant’s health, and as such it was not appropriate for such matters to be aired in public. It was, therefore, satisfied that it was justified to hear the entirety of the case in private, in accordance with Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health Committee (Procedure) Rules 2003.
ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Miss Rachael Thompson from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.
No notes available