Miss Julia A Taylor

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT64562

Hearing Type: Consent Order Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 18/12/2020 End: 17:00 18/12/2020

Location: Hearing taking place virtually

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

As a registered Occupational Therapist (OT64562) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct, in that:

  1. On 26 March 2018, you ended Service User 1’s reablement support with immediate effect without:

a. carrying out an Occupational Therapy core assessment;


b. consulting Service User 1 's next of kin;


c. being able to provide clinical reasoning for your decision.

 

2. You did not maintain adequate and/or complete records for Service User 1, in that you did not:


a. complete an OT Core Assessment form;


b. record adequate details of your visit on 26 March 2018 in your case note and/or record your reasoning as to why a full assessment was not completed;


c. record your clinical reasoning for ending Service User 1 's reablement support with immediate effect on 26 March 2018.


3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 2 above constitute misconduct.


4. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Hearings Officer confirmed that the Registrant was informed by an email to the address held on the Register, dated 7 October 2020, that a hearing would take place on 18 December 2020 (the “Notice of Hearing”).

2. The Registrant acknowledged that the Hearing was to take place within an email dated 15 December 2020.

3. The Panel was satisfied that the Notice of Hearing had been properly served in accordance with Rule 3 (Proof of Service) and Rule 6 (date, time and venue) of the Conduct and Competence Committee Rules 2003 (as amended) (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in Absence.

4. The Presenting Officer applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence as permitted by Rule 11 of the Conduct and Competence Rules. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and took into account the guidance as set out in the HCPTS Practice Note ‘Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant’.

5. The Panel determined that it was reasonable and in the public interest to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The hearing related to the consideration of a consent order and the Registrant had confirmed via an email dated 15 December 2020 that she would not be attending the hearing, and provided a reason why.

6. The Panel recognised that there may be some disadvantage to the Registrant in not being able to give evidence or make oral submissions to it, however she had engaged with the HCPC throughout this matter, provided a reflective statement and signed the Consent Order. She had not sought an adjournment or to be represented in this matter.

7. The Panel was satisfied that it was appropriate for this matter to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, deciding that she had voluntarily absented herself from the hearing. She was fully aware of the hearing and had participated fully in the regulatory investigation, which mitigated any adverse impact of her not being present at the hearing. She admitted the allegations and the hearing was to consider a proposed consent agreement to dispose of the proceedings efficiently and proportionately. There was a strong public interest in ensuring that matters are disposed of fairly and expeditiously. It was unlikely that the Registrant would attend a future hearing if this hearing was adjourned, and she had not indicated any desire to be represented at the hearing. The Panel considered it to be in the Registrant’s interest that this matter is concluded without unnecessary delay.


Background

8. The Registrant is a registered Occupational Therapist who worked, as a locum via the Maxxima agency (“the Agency”), with Peterborough City Council (“the Council”) between 12 February 2018 and 17 April 2018 in the reablement service.

9. The Registrant’s contract with the Council was terminated with effect from 17 April 2018 and the Agency was informed of the concerns about her by email on 23 April 2018. The email confirmed that the Council would be referring the Registrant to the HCPC.

10. The Council referred concerns in respect of the Registrant to the HCPC on 30 April 2018, stating she had inappropriately terminated support to a client and not maintained appropriate case records in respect of her decision.

11. On 19 February 2020 a Panel of the Investigating Committee determined that there was a case to answer in respect of the following allegation:

As a registered Occupational Therapist (OT64562) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct, in that:

1. On 26 March 2018, you ended Service User 1’s reablement support with immediate effect without:
a. carrying out an Occupational Therapy core assessment;
b. consulting Service User 1’s next of kin;
c. providing clinical reasoning for your decision.

2. You did not maintain accurate and complete records for Service User 1, in that you did not record:
a. details of your visit on 26 March 2018;
b. your clinical reasoning for ending Service User 1’s reablement support with immediate effect on 26 March 2018.

3. The matters set out in paragraphs 1 – 2 above constitute misconduct.

4. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.


12. The Registrant was notified of the allegation by a letter dated 28 February 2020.

13. On 18 May 2020 the HCPC contacted the Registrant and informed her that it considered the matter could be disposed of by consent. The email explained the basis on which the proposal was made (i.e. her admission of facts and impairment) and invited evidence from the Registrant as to her level of reflection and insight in respect of the incident and her practise, which the Registrant submitted.

14. On 21 July 2020 the Registrant confirmed via email that she agreed to the matter being disposed of by a Caution Order for a period of 2 years. She signed a Consent Order in the terms proposed by the HCPC on 17 November 2020.

Submissions

15. The Presenting Officer relied upon the skeleton argument provided by the HCPC in advance of the meeting, and invited the Panel to approve the Consent Order. The written submissions confirmed that the Registrant has admitted the facts, that her conduct amounts to misconduct and that her fitness to practise is impaired however the proposed Consent Order would maintain public confidence in the profession and would not be detrimental to the wider public interest. The Presenting Officer submitted that the fact that the Consent Order had been signed by the Registrant in a name other than her registered name should not prevent the Panel from approving the disposal of the matter by way of consent provided it was satisfied that the Registrant agreed to the disposal. She also confirmed the dates the Registrant worked with the Council to correct an inaccuracy in the skeleton argument.

16. The Registrant provided no formal submissions to the Panel in relation to the application to dispose of the matter by consent, however the Panel had been provided with her reflective piece, email correspondence between the HCPC and the Registrant and the signed consent order.

Decision

17. The Panel carefully considered all of the information and evidence within the bundle, including the Allegation, the Registrant’s reflective statement and the terms of the Order itself. It took into account the guidance contained within the HCPC Practice Note entitled "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. It also noted the provision 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.”

18. 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.”


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

20. 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. The Allegation related to the Registrant’s actions in respect of one service user on one day and was therefore isolated. Although there had been no actual harm caused to the service user, the conduct had the potential to result in serious harm. The Panel considered it unlikely that the conduct would be repeated.

21. The Registrant had demonstrated an appropriate level of insight and recognised the serious nature of the Allegation from an early stage of the proceedings, which the Panel found to be a mitigating feature of this matter. The Panel noted that the Council did not provide supervision to locum workers and that the Registrant had been dealing with personal issues at the time of the misconduct. She had acknowledged the impact of her actions on the service user and her family and was apologetic and remorseful. The Registrant recognised that undertaking work as a locum did not give her sufficient access to support and made a conscious decision to seek permanent roles instead.

22. In all the circumstances, the Panel concluded that approval of the proposed Consent Order was both proportionate and appropriate. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s actions are unlikely to be repeated as the Registrant has reflected on her practise and identified steps she can take to prevent a recurrence of the misconduct. Although her conduct was not that expected of a registered Occupational Therapist, and reflected poorly on the profession as a whole, the Panel was satisfied that her steps to reflect on her conduct, remorse and a willingness to learn from the experience demonstrates a commitment to upholding the high standards expected of registered professionals in future. She had also engaged with the regulatory proceedings from the outset.

23. The Panel recognised 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. It was satisfied that a reasonable member of the public or profession, in possession of all of the facts of this matter, would accept that it was appropriate and proportionate to conclude this matter by way of a Caution Order by consent.

24. The Panel gave careful consideration to the term of the Order, having regard to the Sanctions Policy. It concluded that a Caution Order for a period of 2 years adequately reflected the seriousness of the Registrant’s misconduct. This period would also acknowledge the low risk of repetition in light of her engagement with the regulatory process and the level and scope of her insight. It is proportionate and would not undermine public protection or the wider public interest. 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.

25. The Panel approved the proposed order by consent and imposed a Caution Order on the Registrant’s registration for a period of 2 years.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to place a Caution Order against the name of Miss Julia A Taylor on the Register for a period of 2 years, commencing on the date this order comes into effect.

 

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Julia A Taylor

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
18/12/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Consent Order Hearing Caution