Mrs Cavel Callender

Profession: Operating department practitioner

Registration Number: ODP33314

Hearing Type: Voluntary Removal Agreement

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 16/01/2020 End: 17:00 16/01/2020

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

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Voluntary Removal agreed

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Allegation

No information currently available

Finding

Background

1. The Registrant was an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) employed, at the time of the events, by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust). From June to December 2014, in a probationary OPD post as a “new starter”, it was alleged that she had failed in her duty as an ODP in a widespread number of clinical areas, such as failures in relation to monitoring the anaesthetic machine, suctioning, patients’ vital signs, reporting on patients’ conditions and drug regimes, swab checks, correctly setting up theatre for surgery and observing, recording and documenting all aspects of patient care in theatre and recovery settings. The Trust set into motion a capability procedure to help the Registrant improve her practice and to help her with her health problems, but it was to no avail, as she continued to perform to a poor standard, well below the level expected of a registered healthcare professional. Her clinical performance, including her knowledge and skills, was described as “woeful and dangerous”. The Registrant did not pass her extended probation period and she was subsequently reported to the HCPC.

2. On 22 March 2017, at the final hearing of the Registrant’s case and at which she did not attend, all except one of the 21 Particulars of Allegation setting out the Registrant’s failures were found proved on the facts. The Panel at that hearing then found that the facts found proved amounted to a Lack of Competence. Impairment was also found, as the Panel concluded that the Registrant was a risk to the health and safety of the public and that public confidence in the profession was undermined by the Registrant’s proved failings. The Panel imposed a sanction of a 12 months’ Suspension Order, on the grounds of public protection and the wider public interest.

3. The Registrant’s first Review on 12 March 2018, which the Registrant again did not attend, resulted in a further 12 months’ Suspension Order, as the Registrant had still not engaged with the process in the Suspension Order period. On 1 March 2018, she had made telephone contact with the HCPC, asking about the Review, but stated that she could not attend in person. A written submission or attendance by telephone were offered to her, but she did not take up these options, despite a follow-up email to her by the HCPC on 1 March 2018.

4. The first Review panel concluded that the Registrant was still a risk to patients the wider public confidence in the profession continued to be undermined by her failings and impairment. In its determination, that Panel urged the Registrant to attend on the next Review, with evidence of her latest activities, a reflective piece, information on her health and any steps taken by reading or education to improve her knowledge and understanding.

5. The second Review on 14 March 2019, which again the Registrant did not attend, resulted in a 6 month Suspension Order, on the grounds that the Registrant had made no contact with the HCPC in the prior period of the extended Suspension Order, despite the HCPC having attempted contact with her on a number of occasions. The second Review Panel concluded that there remained a significant risk to service users if the Registrant were to be permitted to return to unrestricted practice. The Registrant had made no attempt to remedy her “serious and wide ranging” clinical deficiencies, for example by taking the chance to engage and produce information as suggested by the last Review panel. The second Review Panel found that the Registrant was still impaired and it extended the Suspension Order on the grounds of public protection and in the wider public interest. It extended the Suspension Order by 6 months to give the Registrant a final opportunity to engage with the process and to provide the next Review panel with the information recommended by the first Review panel.

6. On the third Review on 13 September 2019, the Registrant attended by telephone. Contact between the HCPC and the Registrant had been made on 12 September 2019. In the hearing the Registrant stated that she would like to be voluntarily removed from the ODP part of the HCPC Register but that she had only brought this to the HCPC’s attention the previous day. The HCPC told the third Review panel that it was prepared to explore that possibility, but that the Registrant had to engage in order for this to be effected. The Registrant told the third Review panel that she wished to “draw a line” under the matter and apologised for her prior failure to engage. She stated that her health had prevented her from engaging and that the whole process was stressful for her. The Registrant also stated that due to her health reasons and the stress of the Review cycle, she had no intention of practising and she had since retired. She also stated that she would prefer to leave her profession in a dignified manner by Voluntary Removal, rather than be subject to a Striking Off Order.

7. The third Review panel concluded that there was still no evidence of remediation or insight and that the Registrant still remained impaired on the grounds of continuing to be a risk to the public and the wider public interest in maintaining public confidence in the profession and upholding standards. The third Review panel also noted that the Registrant had only connected with the HCPC on 12 September, when the HCPC telephoned her, and that she had not been in contact with them since March 2018. It also noted that the voluntary removal process required the Registrant’s engagement and an assessment by the HCPC if the case was suitable for voluntary removal. If so, another independent panel of the HCPC would have to make the final decision on that. The third Review panel determined that a further short extension of the existing Suspension Order of 6 months was required to permit the voluntary removal process to be explored, whilst also continuing to protect the public and to uphold the wider public interest.

8. The process of voluntary removal was set in motion. The Registrant confirmed her wish to be voluntarily removed from HCPC registration in a handwritten letter dated 26 September 2019. The Voluntary Removal Agreement was drafted on 4 December 2019 and signed on 23 December 2019 by the HCPC. It was sent to the Registrant on 23 December 2019 and she was asked to sign it in the presence of a witness and return it to the HCPC by 6 January 2020. The Registrant was invited to attend the Voluntary Removal hearing and/or be represented, as it would be a public hearing.

9. On 30 December 2019, the Registrant signed the proposed Voluntary Agreement in the presence of a witness, as required of her, but did not send it in time. The Hearings Officer arranged for the Registrant to send to her as an attachment to an email this morning, a photograph of the entire document for the Panel to see. In giving her brief submission this morning by telephone, the Registrant confirmed that she had signed the document, that she had sent it to the HCPC by an attachment to an email this morning and that she fully understood, and accepted, the Voluntary Agreement. She apologised for not having sent it by post yet, but would do so today.

Decision:

10. The Panel took into consideration the submission of Ms Ktisti and the Registrant, who attended by telephone. The Panel also accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and paid regard to the HCPC’s Practice Note on Disposal of Cases by Consent. The Panel noted that although this was a Lack of Competence case, by reason of at least two years having passed since the sanction of a Suspension Order was imposed on 22 March 2017, the range of the sanctions now available to any review panel would include a Striking off order.

11. The Panel noted the requirements for Voluntary Removal being that it must secure an adequate level of public protection and should uphold the wider public interest and not be detrimental to it.

12. The Panel noted that the Registrant had been fully informed of the nature of the Voluntary Agreement and its ramifications; namely, that it had the same effect as a Striking Off Order. Thus, in signing the agreement, the Registrant had agreed to its contents and to the consequences of it, being that she would no longer be permitted to practice as a registered OPD. In addition, the Panel concluded that the Registrant had given her fully informed consent to the Voluntary Removal.

13. In the Panel’s judgement, the Voluntary Agreement in this Lack of Competence case would adequately protect the public and uphold public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process, as well as maintaining the standards of the profession. It would remove the Registrant from practice with immediate effect and thus remove a practitioner described as “dangerous” from the ODP profession. In the Panel’s opinion, a Voluntary Removal would adequately safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public in this case.

14. The Panel further concluded that a Voluntary Removal in this case would also uphold the wider public interest and an informed member of the public would conclude the need to mark the wide ranging and serious clinical failings of the Registrant identified by this case. A Voluntary Removal would also reflect that the same member of the public would not only take into account that the Registrant had already received a sanction in this case, but also that this case has always been a Lack of Competence case, and not a case of deliberate actions and omissions by the Registrant and not, therefore, Misconduct.

15. For these reasons, the Panel determined that a Voluntary Removal Order in this case gives the necessary and adequate level of public protection and would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

16. The Panel determined to grant the Voluntary Removal Order.

17. The Panel therefore consented to the HCPC discontinuing these proceedings.

 

Order

The Registrar is directed to revoke the current Suspension Order and directed to remove the name of Cavel Callender from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Cavel Callender

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
16/01/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Voluntary Removal Agreement Voluntary Removal agreed
13/09/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
14/03/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
12/03/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
20/03/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended