Mr Leonard I Odu

Profession: Radiographer

Registration Number: RA39883

Hearing Type: Restoration Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 01/07/2020 End: 17:00 01/07/2020

Location: Virtual - Video Conference

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Restored

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Allegation

As found proved at the substantive hearing which took place on 6 January 2014:
 
During the course of your employment as a Radiographer at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust between 1 November 2004 and July 2012, on 19 January 2012 you:
1.  Did not follow the Patient Identification Checks Procedure before undertaking a computerised tomography (CT) scan on Patient A.
2.  Erroneously conducted a full head scan on Patient A rather than an abdominal scan.
3. Asked a colleague, SV, to delete patient imaging data relating to Patient A from the PAC system.
4. Your actions at 3 were dishonest.
5. The matters set out in paragraphs 1-3 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
6. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practice is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters
Additional documentation
1. Prior to the start of the hearing Mr Odu (‘the Applicant’) provided a prepared statement, which the Panel read prior to the hearing commencing.
 
Background
2. Between 1 November 2004 and July 2012 the Applicant was employed as a Radiographer at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (‘the Trust’). The HCPC carried out an investigation into events on 19 January 2012 which occurred while the Registrant was employed by the Trust.
 
3. On 6 January 2014, a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee considered an Allegation that the Applicant’s fitness to practise was impaired. The Applicant did not attend the hearing and was not represented. The substantive hearing panel found that on 19 January 2012 the Registrant failed to follow Patient Identification Checks before undertaking a computerised tomography (‘CT’) scan on Patient A. That the Applicant had erroneously conducted a full head scan on Patient A rather than an abdominal scan and that he dishonestly asked a colleague to delete patient imaging data relating to Patient A from the Picture Archiving and Communication System (‘PACS’).
 
4. The substantive hearing panel found the facts of the Allegation proved and that they constituted misconduct. It decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired and made a Striking Off Order.
 
5. In its decision, the substantive hearing panel noted that the matters found proved were serious. There were serious lapses of professional standards, which had the potential to cause patient harm, and there was a deliberate, dishonest attempt to conceal the initial errors. When the Applicant made his mistake of identification he sought to cover it up, and in his submission to the Investigating Committee he tried to put the blame on a colleague. The Applicant had shown no remorse and very limited insight.
 
6. In February 2019 the Applicant made a request for restoration to the Register. The matter was heard on 26 April 2019 before the HCPC Conduct and Competence panel. At that hearing, the Applicant provided evidence that he worked as a Radiographer in Nigeria until 2017 and this included a role as a consultant CT and Training Radiographer and he provided a letter of good standing from the Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria. The Applicant also furnished the previous restoration panel with certificates confirming completion of several training courses. The previous restoration panel heard evidence from the Applicant in which he asked to be restored to the Register so that he could practise as a Radiographer and he gave an assurance to the panel that there would be no repetition of the conduct that led to the Striking Off Order.

7. During his evidence before the previous restoration panel, the Applicant was asked to comment on various findings made by the substantive hearing panel. In answer to the previous panel’s questions he denied that he had been dishonest, sought to cover up a mistake, or placed the blame on colleagues. He did not accept the findings of the substantive hearing panel relating to dishonesty and the previous panel was of the view that he did not demonstrate an understanding of the seriousness of the finding of dishonesty made by the substantive hearing panel. The previous panel was of the view that whilst the Applicant did demonstrate some insight in relation to the identification of error and the risks which may arise from such errors, he did not demonstrate insight in relation to the serious finding of dishonesty or the implications of such a serious finding on public confidence in him, his profession or the regulator.

8. The previous restoration panel was also of the view that whilst the Applicant had taken some steps to maintaining his professional knowledge and skills up to date, his efforts were limited. The previous panel therefore concluded that the Applicant had not discharged the burden of proof on him to demonstrate that he is a fit and proper person to practise as a Radiographer, having regard to the particular circumstances that led to the Striking Off Order. The previous panel therefore decided to refuse the Applicant’s application to be restored to the Register.

9. On 17 February 2020, the Applicant contacted the HCPC and made a second request for restoration. The HCPC informed the Applicant that he could only apply for restoration once in any twelve-month period and that the earliest possible consideration of his application would be in April 2020. On 4 May 2020, the Applicant contacted the HCPC again requesting to apply for restoration.

Applicant’s evidence
10. The Applicant gave evidence before the Panel. He told the Panel that he acknowledged that he did the wrong CT scan on a patient and that he accepted that in the aftermath he told a colleague, without authorisation, to delete the images from the PACS system. He admitted that he tried to blame a colleague for deleting the images and stated that whilst he knew that doing the wrong scan was serious, he now recognised that his attempt to cover up his mistake and blame it on someone else was “even more grievous”.

11. The Applicant told the Panel that “upon reflection, I know I was not struck off because I did a wrong scan, but because of my conduct afterwards, my conduct fell short of what is expected of a Radiographer”. He stated that he now knew that his conduct was “dishonest” and that as a professional he “ought to have known and done better”. He also told the Panel that he had “deep regret and shame for everything that happened” and that whilst he recognised that he was fallible and could not guarantee that mistakes would not recur in the future, he assured the Panel that he would “strive [my best] not to be in this sort of situation ever again”.

12. The Applicant informed the Panel that he now recognised that covering up his mistakes is “costly” for both himself and the profession as it could “undermine public trust” in the profession.

13. He expressed remorse and regret at his actions and informed the Panel that he had made contact with the colleague, to whom he had sought to apportion blame, to apologise for his actions.

14. In response to Panel questions, the Applicant told the Panel, that he had been working in Nigeria at the time of the substantive hearing and that owing to some personal family difficulties, and the prohibitive cost of returning to the U.K., he had been unable to return for the substantive hearing. He also told the Panel that at the time of the last restoration hearing that he had not fully reflected on his conduct and behaviour and now recognised that the previous review panel had been correct, in its decision, not to grant his application. He further stated that after consulting with colleagues, family and friends, he recognised that he had been in denial about his behaviour and dishonesty and sincerely and genuinely regretted his actions and now understood that had he acted more openly and honestly, things would have turned out differently.

15. The Applicant, during questions from the HCPC, also drew the Panel’s attention to how his actions had differed, from the circumstances outlined during the substantive hearing, when he had made a mistake in his current role and had mislaid a patient list. The Applicant told the Panel that he had immediately informed the other people in his department, including his manager and colleagues and they looked for the list together and that he had reported the incident as a ‘near miss’ as per hospital protocol. 

16. The Applicant also told the Panel that he was currently employed, via an agency, as an assistant in a hospital setting and that this role had provided him with an opportunity to shadow Radiographers and learn from them. The Applicant also drew the Panel’s attention to the continuing professional development (‘CPD’) training that he had undertaken, without being asked to by his employer, stating that he was eager to improve his learning.

Submissions
17. Ms Ktisti, on behalf of the HCPC, informed the Panel that although the HCPC accepted that the Registrant had shared his thoughts on his behaviour and had told the Panel about his insight and remorse, that his evidence lacked substance and depth. She submitted, that in the HCPC’s view, it was not clear, from the Applicant’s evidence, how he would put his lessons learned into practice. She further submitted that there seemed to be some outstanding integrity issues, which had failed to be addressed by the Applicant. She stated that the HCPC was concerned that the Registrant had felt safe to continue to practise in Nigeria, notwithstanding being struck off from the Register in the U.K.

18. Ms Ktisti also raised concerns regarding the Applicant only telephoning his colleague the day prior to today’s hearing and invited the Panel to reject the application for restoration.

19. Mr Danialu, on the Applicant’s behalf, submitted the following:
i. that the Applicant had demonstrated that he meets the general requirements and is a fit and proper person;
ii. the Applicant had demonstrated insight. He had told the Panel that he was in denial at the time and has shown the strength of character to telephone his colleague and apologise for his actions;
iii. the Applicant has learned his lesson and knows what he should do, should a mistake be made moving forward and drew the Panel’s attention to the example of the misplaced list, provided by the Applicant;
iv. the Applicant is regretful;
v. the Applicant has addressed the question of ongoing CPD, by undertaking a number of courses under his own steam, rather than it being a requirement of his employment;
vi. the Applicant has been working as an HCA and this role has been an important part of his reflective insight journey;
vii. the Applicant understand that public confidence in him and the profession has been undermined but that the rigorous regulatory process of the HCPC has restored public confidence in the profession;
viii. the Applicant does not pose a risk of harm to the public, a contention which can be supported by his current employment with vulnerable people;
ix. the Applicant mistakes were regrettable but he should not be punished forever as the purpose of regulatory proceedings was not punitive;
x. the Applicant has been on a journey towards insight and he now accepts his liability and guilt and recognises that he fell short of the required standards; and
xi. the test outlined in GMC v Chandra [2019] EWCA Civ 236 should be adopted by the Panel.
 
Decision
20. Throughout its deliberations, the Panel remained conscious that the burden of proving that the Applicant is a fit and proper person to be restored to the Register was on the Applicant and that the applicable standard of proof is the civil one, namely on the balance of probabilities.

21. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, which reminded the Panel of the following:
i. Article 33(5) of the Health Professions Order states that the Panel must be satisfied that the applicant:
1. meets the general requirements for registration; and
2. is a fit and proper person to practise the relevant profession (in this case Radiography), having regard to the particular circumstances that led to the striking off.
ii. It is not sufficient for the Applicant to merely establish that they meet the requisite standard of proficiency and the other general requirements for registration. The Applicant must satisfy the Panel that he has developed the required insight, remorse and remediation and that he no longer poses any risk, as identified by the Panel which decided to impose the ultimate sanction of strike off.
iii. In determining the application, the Panel should consider the following:
a) the matters which led to the strike off and the reasons given by the substantive hearing panel for imposing that sanction;
b) whether the Applicant accepts and has insight into those matters;
c) whether the Applicant has resolved the matters, has the willingness and ability to do so, or whether they are capable of being resolved by the Applicant;
d) what other remedial or rehabilitative steps the Applicant has taken;
e) the period of time since being struck off and any previous restoration applications;
f) the Applicant’s employment history since he was removed from the Register;
g) what steps the Applicant has taken to keep his professional knowledge and skills up-to-date;
h) taking all of the aforementioned factors into account, whether the Applicant would be able to practise safely as a Radiographer in the future; and
i) whether, in the context of the concerns that led to the previous Striking Off Order, public confidence in the radiography profession would be undermined if the applicant were restored to the register.
iv. The appropriate test to be applied in restoration cases is ‘whether having regard to the overarching objective, the Applicant is now fit to practise’ as outlined in the case of GMC v Chandra [2019] EWCA Civ 236.
v. Should the Panel decide to grant the Applicant’s application for restoration, the Panel may do so unconditionally, or subject to the Applicant:
a) meeting any applicable education and training requirements specified by the Council; or
b) complying with a conditions of practice order imposed by the Panel.
vi. In respect of ‘education and training requirements’, the only applicable requirements would be those requirements required to return to practice. If the Panel considers that ‘return to practice’ requirements are appropriate, those requirements must be satisfactorily fulfilled before the Applicant is restored to the Register.
vii. Should the Panel wish to impose bespoke requirements on the Applicant, including updating requirements, which may be completed following restoration, the Panel can draft a Conditions of Practice Order. Conditions of practice can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a particular case, will be reviewed and, if necessary, can be extended.
viii. to have regard to the HCPTS Practice Note entitled ‘Restoration to the Register’ and of the Panel’s duty to provide detailed reasons for its decision.

22. The Panel reminded itself of the contents of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service Practice Note entitled, ‘Restoration to the Register’.

23. In considering the Applicant’s application, the Panel paid due regard to all of the documents in the case, the oral evidence of the Applicant, and the submissions made by both parties.

24. The Panel noted the stance adopted by the HCPC, that being that the HCPC opposed the application.

25. The Panel also had regard to the numerous certificates of professional education and training undertaken by the Applicant.

26. There was no doubt, in the view of the Panel, that the proved behaviour of the Applicant was very serious involving dishonest behaviour.

27. However, this misconduct occurred over six years ago and much had happened since. The Panel noted that at the substantive hearing that panel felt unable to suspend rather than remove the Applicant from the Register because of his lack of insight and remediation before the Investigating Committee and following his lack of engagement in the proceedings.

28. This Panel was satisfied that the Applicant has now demonstrated genuine remorse and that he had significant insight into his offending behaviour and why it was that he allowed himself to lose sight of what was right and wrong. The Applicant has assured and persuaded this Panel that he would not repeat such behaviour. Furthermore, he has shown that he now has an understanding of the approach that should be adopted should he ever find himself in a similar situation again.

29. In all the circumstances, the Panel is satisfied that the Applicant has shown, through his insight, remorse, reflection and remediation, that he has very much learned his lesson and is now a fit and proper person to return to practice as a Radiographer registered with the HCPC. There is nothing to suggest that the Applicant has behaved in any adverse way in the intervening period. The Panel is satisfied that the risk to the public is minimal. The Panel was reassured that the Applicant would have all of the misconduct issues at the forefront of his mind for the duration of his career. 

30. The Panel has therefore decided to grant the application to restore the Applicant to the Radiography part of the HCPC Register. His return to practice will be subject to the Registrar being satisfied that he has successfully completed the requirements outlined in the Order below.

Order

The Registrar is directed to restore the name of Mr Leonard I Odu (the Applicant) to the Radiography Part of the HCPC Register, but restoration is only to take effect once the Applicant has:
 
a) provided the Registrar with any information and declarations required for admission to the Register;
 
b) paid the prescribed restoration fee;
 
c) satisfied the Registrar that, in relation to the Applicant, there is or will be in force appropriate cover under an indemnity arrangement; and
 
d) provided evidence which satisfies the Registrar that the Applicant has successfully completed a 60 day period of professional updating in accordance with the HCPC standards for Return to Practice.
 
The Applicant will be responsible for meeting any and all costs associated with complying with these conditions.
 

Notes

This is a Restoration Hearing which took place virtually via video conference on Wednesday 1 July 2020.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Leonard I Odu

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
01/07/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Restoration Hearing Restored