Mr Caolan Hendron

Profession: Arts therapist

Registration Number: AS15591

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 26/04/2021 End: 17:00 27/04/2021

Location: Hearing taking place virtually

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and during the course of your employment at Every Day Harmony you:


1. Between September 2017 and June 2018 did not provide the full amount of music
therapy sessions which you were contracted to undertake for:


a) Child 1; and/or
b) Child 2; and/or
c) Child 4; and/or
d) Child 9; and/or
e) Child 10.


2. Between September 2017 and June 2018 did not provide any music therapy sessions which you were contracted to undertake for:


a) Child 3;
b) Child 5;
c) Child 6;
d) Child 7;
e) Child 8;
f) Child 11;
g) Child 12;
h) Child 13.


3. Did not record notes of your sessions at Day Centre One – North Belfast on:


a) 5 and/or 12 and/or 19 and/or 19 and/or 26 October 2017;
b) 2 and/or 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 and/or 30 November 2017;
c) 7 and/or 14 December 2017;
d) 11 and/or 18 and/or 25 January 2018;
e) 1 and/or 8 February 2018;
f) 19 and/or 26 April 2018;
g) 3 and/or 10 and/or 17 and/or 24 and/or 31 May 2018.


4. Did not record notes of your sessions at Day Centre Two – east Belfast on:


a) 30 January 2018;
b) 6 and/or 13 and/or 20 and/or 27 February 2018;
c) 6 and/or 13 and/or 20 and/or 27 March 2018;
d) 3 and/or 10 and/or 17 and/or 24 April 2018;
e) 1 and/or 8 and/or 15 and/or 22 and/or 29 May 2019.


5. Did not record notes of your sessions at Day Centre Three – North Belfast on:


a) 17 and/or 24 November 2017.
b) 1 and/or 8 and/or 15 December 2017.
c) 12 and/or 19 and/or 26 January 2018.
d) 2 and/or 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 February 2018.
e) 2 and/or 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 March 2018.
f) 6 and/or 13 and/or 20 and/or 27 April 2018.
g) 4 and/or 11 and/or 18 and/or 25 May 2018.


6. Did not record notes of your sessions at Special Education Scholl – County Down on:


a. 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 and/or 30 April 2018.
b. 14 and/or 21 May 2018.


7. Between September 2017 and May 2018 you completed workflow sheets and/or claimed travel expenses for sessions that you did not deliver. 


8. The matter described in particular 7 is dishonest.


9. The matters described in described in particulars 7 and 8 constitute misconduct.


10. The matters described in particulars 1 to 6 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.


11. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters
Issue raised by the Panel regarding Particular 7
1. At the outset of the hearing, the Panel raised the question of the evidence relied on by the HCPC in relation to Particular 7, as contained within the HCPC hearing bundle. It appeared to the Panel that while there was documentation in respect of claims for expenses made by the Registrant, which are alleged to have been made dishonestly, it was not clear what work the expenses in the bundle related to, or if some of them related to work which the Registrant had in fact done.

2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

3. The Panel noted that the evidence of JA, the Registrant’s line manager at the time of the events set out in the Allegation, stated that the Registrant had told her that he had claimed expenses for journeys in relation to which no work had taken place. The Panel informed the parties that it was satisfied that, if this was indeed the evidence of JA, this was sufficient evidence, prima facie to support Particular 7. However, the Panel made clear that it would require further evidence of the dates of the alleged dishonest claims, as well as particulars of the amounts. Those Particulars were not set out in the Allegation, but, were in the Panel’s opinion potentially material to impairment and sanction.

4. The Panel requested that Mr Millin seek further instructions and clarify his case. Mr Doherty, on behalf of the Registrant, confirmed the contents of the witness statement submitted by the Registrant, which states that the Registrant, at a meeting with JA on 13 June 2018, did tell her that he had made false travel expense claims and that this was fully accepted by the Registrant. Mr Doherty did not object to Mr Millin obtaining further instructions on these issues, although he would not agree to a long delay.

5. On further investigation, Mr Millin, on behalf of the HCPC, made clear that JA’s evidence was going to be that the information in the schedules in the bundle related only to the alleged dishonest claims, and therefore particularisation of their dates and amounts was part of the HCPC’s case. The Panel was content to proceed on that basis.

Application to amend the Allegation
6. Mr Millin, on behalf of the HCPC, applied to amend the Allegation in the ways set out as follows. He submitted that no prejudice or unfairness would be caused to the Registrant as the proposed amendments were fairly minor.

7. Mr Doherty did not object to the application.

8. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

9. The Panel decided to accede to the application. In coming to this decision, the Panel took into account the following. The HCPC had written to the Registrant on 12 February 2020 giving him notice of this application, and therefore he had had 11 months in which to consider this. The proposed amendments were minor and did not change the nature of the case or increase its gravity. Rather, they more accurately reflected the HCPC evidence. The Panel also noted that there was a typographical error in the proposed amendment to Particular 3(a), an error in the year in Particular 4(e), and an error in the spelling of the word “school” in Particular 6 which it also amended.

Amended Allegation
Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and during the course of your employment at Every Day Harmony you:

1. Between September 2017 and June 2018 did not provide the full amount of music therapy sessions which you were contracted to undertake for:
a) Child 1; and/or
b) Child 2; and/or
c) Child 4; and/or
d) Child 9; and/or
e) Child 10.

2. Between September 2017 and June 2018 did not provide any music therapy sessions which you were contracted to undertake for:
a) Child 3;
b) Child 5;
c) Child 6;
d) Child 7;
e) Child 8;
f) Child 11;
g) Child 12;
h) Child 13.

3. Did not record notes of your sessions at Day Centre One – North Belfast on:
a) 5 and/or 12 and/or 19 and/or 19 and/or 26 October 2017;
b) 2 and/or 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 and/or 30 November 2017;
c) 7 and/or 14 December 2017;
d) 11 and/or 18 and/or 25 January 2018;
e) 1 and/or 8 February 2018;
f) 19 and/or 26 April 2018;
g) 3 and/or 10 and/or 17 and/or 24 and/or 31 May 2018.

4. Did not record notes of your sessions at Day Centre Two – east Belfast on:
a) 30 January 2018;
b) 6 and/or 13 and/or 20 and/or 27 February 2018;
c) 6 and/or 13 and/or 20 and/or 27 March 2018;
d) 3 and/or 10 and/or 17 and/or 24 April 2018;
e) 1 and/or 8 and/or 15 and/or 22 and/or 29 May 2019 2018.

5. Did not record notes of your sessions at Day Centre Three – North Belfast on:
a) 17 and/or 24 November 2017.
b) 1 and/or 8 and/or 15 December 2017.
c) 12 and/or 19 and/or 26 January 2018.
d) 2 and/or 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 February 2018.
e) 2 and/or 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 March 2018.
f) 6 and/or 13 and/or 20 and/or 27 April 2018.
g) 4 and/or 11 and/or 18 and/or 25 May 2018.

6. Did not record notes of your sessions at Special Education School – County Down on:
a. 9 and/or 16 and/or 23 and/or 30 April 2018.
b. 14 and/or 21 May 2018.

7. Between September 2017 and May 2018 you completed workflow sheets and/or claimed travel expenses for sessions that you did not deliver.

8. The matter described in particular 7 is dishonest.

9. The matters described in particulars 7 and 8 constitute misconduct.

10. The matters described in particulars 1 to 6 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

11. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Background
10. The Registrant is a registered Arts Therapist. The Registrant was employed by Everyday Harmony (the Service) as an Arts Therapist from 16 August 2016 until 30 June 2018. The Service provides clinical music therapy on a weekly basis to adults and children in a variety of settings, such as schools, day centres and hospitals.

11. On the morning of 8 June 2018, JA, Music Therapy Manager with the Service and the Registrant’s line manager, received a phone call from the Registrant, requesting that she meet him urgently. They met at a venue where the Registrant had been working that day and held a discussion in JA’s car. During this conversation the Registrant advised that he was behind in his work; he had not completed some of his notes and requested a couple of days to catch up on his paperwork. Due to the level of distress displayed during the conversation, JA recommended that the Registrant take some sick leave.

12. On 12 or 13 June 2018, the Registrant attended the office and brought some files in with him. He advised JA that these documents were everything he had. He also told JA that he had not seen some of his clients at all, and had only delivered a handful of sessions to others. Furthermore, he told JA that he had made claims for travel expenses, for sessions that he had not delivered. Following this meeting JA advised that she would need to take the matter to the senior management team meeting. The Registrant then went on sick leave and did not return to the service. No internal investigation was undertaken following his resignation. A referral was submitted to the HCPC on 10 August 2018 by the Service.

Decision on Facts
13. The Registrant admitted all the factual Particulars.

14. The Panel heard the live evidence of JA who was the only live witness called by the HCPC.

15. The Panel considered JA to be a straightforward, and credible witness who did her best to help the Panel with her evidence.

16. The HCPC sought to rely on the written statement of NB, Legal Assistant with Kingsley Napley Solicitors. Mr Doherty did not object. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred to the case of Thorneycroft v NMC [2014] EWHC 1565.

17. The Panel determined to that it was fair to admit the witness statement of NB. NB is a professional person who had signed the witness statement for the purposes of these proceedings. She was not a witness to the events which gave rise to the charge. The purpose of her witness statement was to show that she requested from the Service expense claim forms which had been submitted by the Registrant to the Service, and she exhibited those claim forms. Those documents were signed by him. She did not add anything further in terms of evidence. These are the Registrant’s own documents and the Panel could not identify any prejudice to the Registrant in admitting the witness statement. He did not deny that he produced them. The Panel therefore determined to admit her evidence.

18. The Registrant did not give evidence at the facts stage. However, he relied on a witness statement dated 10 January 2021 in which he accepted the facts.

19. The parties also submitted, and the Panel accepted, an agreed statement of facts. This agreed statement of facts set out a number of agreed material facts which will be referred to in the Panel’s decision on facts. 

20. The agreed statement of facts agreed that an important meeting between JA and the Registrant took place on either 12 or 13 June 2018, with nothing turning on the date in question. For brevity, the Panel referred to this as “the June meeting”.

21.  The Registrant also submitted a number of other documents, namely a Labour Relations Agency agreement with the Service, a resignation letter dated 3 July 2018, a Training Certificate on Time Management dated 3 October 2020, three GP fit to return to work notes (fit notes) relating to GP examinations in June and July 2018, three character testimonials, a heavily redacted extract from the Registrant’s GP records, and Counselling records dating June and July 2018.

22. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred to the cases of Ivey v Genting [2017] UKSC 67, Lavis v NMC [2014] EWHC 4083, Uddin v GMC [2012] EWHC 2669 and Lawrance v GMC [2015] EWHC 586. 

23. The Panel is aware that the burden of proof is wholly on the HCPC, and the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities. The Panel took note of the Registrant’s full admissions, but was aware that it must come to its own findings on fact. The Panel scrutinized the evidence before it to satisfy itself that the admissions were properly made and that the allegations were proved on the balance of probabilities.

The Main Stem of the Allegation
24. JA’s evidence was that the Registrant was employed by the Service.

25. The Registrant admitted this.

26. The Panel therefore found the stem proved.

Particulars 1 (a) – 1(e) – Found Proved
27. The Panel took into account the witness statement and the live evidence of JA, as well as documents exhibited to her statement. JA’s evidence was that Children 1, 2, 4, 9 and 10 were children who were due to receive 12 sessions of music therapy as part of the Regional Peripatetic Service (RPS) which is offered either in the child’s home or school.

28. JA’s evidence was that in the June meeting with the Registrant, the Registrant told her that from September 2017 he had not generally been providing RPS music therapy sessions, although he had delivered some sessions in the County Down area.

29. The Panel took into account a table (“the table”) included as an exhibit to JA’s witness statement, showing the amount of sessions, if any, which the Registrant had provided to different children for whom he was responsible for providing music therapy. This table was produced by JA during the investigation stage in response to the HCPC’s requests for information. It was produced after the Registrant’s disclosures to her in the June meeting that he had not provided the children referred to in Particular 1 with the 12 therapy sessions which they were meant to have received. In addition, JA undertook an examination of the records within the Service regarding the sessions for which the Registrant was responsible for providing.

30. The agreed statement of facts states that both parties accept that the table “is on balance an accurate reflection of the sessions not performed”
31. According to the table, of the twelve sessions due to be provided to each child, the Registrant had only provided:
a)  4 therapy sessions to Child 1;
b)  3 therapy sessions to Child 2;
c)  5 therapy sessions to Child 4;
d)  5 therapy sessions to Child 9;
e)  5 therapy sessions to Child 10.

32. The Panel therefore found Particulars 1 (a) – 1(e) proved.

Particulars 2(a) – 2(h) – Found Proved
33. The Panel took into account the witness statement as well as the live evidence of JA and documents exhibited to her statement. JA’s evidence was that Children 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 13 were children who had been due to receive 12 sessions of music therapy as part of the Regional Peripatetic Service (RPS) which is offered either in the child’s home or school.

34. JA’s evidence was that in the June meeting with the Registrant, the Registrant told her that from September 2017 he had not been providing RPS music therapy sessions, although he had delivered some sessions in the County Down area. JA’s evidence was that in the June meeting with the Registrant, he told her that he had not provided the children set out below with any of the therapy sessions, which they were meant to receive. The Registrant stated he had not provided:
a) any therapy sessions to Child 3;
b) any therapy sessions to Child 5;
c) any therapy sessions to Child 6;
d) any therapy sessions to Child 7;
e) any therapy sessions to Child 8;
f) any therapy sessions to Child 11;
g) any therapy sessions to Child 12;
h) any therapy sessions to Child 13.
35. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s admissions to these Particulars.

36. The Panel therefore found these Particulars proved.

Particulars 3(a) – 3(g) – Found Proved
37. JA’s evidence was that Day Care Centre One in North Belfast is an Adult Day Centre for people with physical disabilities. JA stated that at the June meeting the Registrant gave her information about dates that he attended Day Care Centre. Those dates include those which are set out in Particulars 3(a) – 3(g). JA stated that when she looked at the file for Day Care Centre One, she did not find any notes for sessions delivered after August 2017.

38. The Registrant admitted that he did not record his notes of those sessions.

39. The Panel noted JA’s evidence that there is no suggestion that the Registrant did not attend the sessions set out in Particulars 3(a) – 3(g). JA’s reason was that the Service had a close relationship with Day Care Centre One and that if the Registrant had not attended or even been a few minutes late, they would have called the Service to check the position.

40. The Panel therefore found Particulars 3(a) – 3(g) proved.

Particulars 4(a) – 4(e) – Found Proved
41. JA’s evidence was that Day Care Centre Two in East Belfast is an Adult Day Centre for people for people with physical disabilities. JA stated that at the June meeting the Registrant gave her information about dates that he attended Day Care Centre. The dates she gave are those which are set out in Particulars 4(a) – 4(e). JA stated that when she looked at the file for Day Care Centre Two, she did not find any notes for sessions delivered after December 2017.

42. The Registrant admitted that he did not record the notes of those sessions.

43. The Panel noted JA’s evidence that there was no suggestion that the Registrant had not attended the sessions on the particular dates. JA’s reason is that the Service had a close relationship with Day Care Centre Two and that if the Registrant had not attended or even been a few minutes late, they would have called the Service to check the position.

44. The Panel therefore found Particulars 4(a) – 4(e) proved.

Particulars 5(a) – 5(g) – Found Proved
45. JA’s evidence was that Day Care Centre Three in North Belfast is an Adult Day Centre for people with physical disabilities. In her witness statement, JA gave the dates for the Registrant’s attendance at Day Care Centre Three. Those dates were the same as those which are set out in Particulars 5(a) – 5(g). JA stated that when she looked at the file for Day Care Centre Three, she had not found any notes for sessions delivered after October 2017.

46. The Registrant admitted that he did not record the notes of those sessions.

47. The Panel noted JA’s evidence that there was no suggestion that the Registrant did not attend the sessions on the particular dates. JA’s reason was that the Service had a close relationship with Day Care Centre Three and that if the Registrant had not attended or even been a few minutes late, they would have called the Service to check the position.

48. The Panel therefore found Particulars 5(a) – 5(g) proved.

Particulars 6(a) – 6(b) – Found Proved
49. JA’s evidence was that the special education school in County Down provides music therapy to children with learning disabilities. The Registrant was meant to visit this school once a week during term-time unless the school was closed or he was on annual or sick leave.

50. JA’s evidence was that the Registrant had told her that he had attended the school on the dates in Particulars 6(a) – 6(b). JA stated that when she looked at the file for the school, she did not find any notes for sessions delivered after March 2018.

51. The Registrant admitted that he did not record the notes of those sessions.

52. The Panel noted JA’s evidence that there was no suggestion that the Registrant did not attend the sessions on the particular dates. JA’s reason was that the Service had a close relationship with the school and that if the Registrant had not attended or even been a few minutes late, they would have called the Service to check the position. In addition, the school paid for the music therapy sessions privately, rather than receiving them through public funding, and would, on JA’s evidence, have certainly complained if invoiced for sessions which had not been provided

53. The Panel therefore found Particulars 6(a) – 6(b) proved.

Particular 7 – Found Proved
54. JA’s evidence was that as a result of the June meeting and the information which the Registrant gave her, she met with the office manager of the service. They examined the workflow sheets completed by the Registrant and submitted by him to the Service. The workflow sheets indicate the sessions which he was providing, and the office manager, in collaboration with JA, marked in yellow the sessions which were referred to in the workflow sheets, but which were not actually delivered by the Registrant.

55. In addition, JA gave evidence of the travel expenses which the Registrant claimed for sessions which he did not deliver. JA exhibited a table which was prepared setting out travel expenses for journeys claimed for by the Registrant for sessions which were not delivered. JA stated that this table was compiled by the office manager based on the information given to JA by the Registrant at the June meeting.

56. The agreed statement of facts set out that JA and her office manager produced the table to show travel claims that were made by the Registrant but which should not have been made.

57. The agreed statement of facts also set out that the table compiled by the office manager set out the value of travel claims which ought not to have been made as totalling £1,022.40. However, the agreed facts are that this figure did not reflect the actual gain to the Registrant as he would have had valid travel claims that were not reflected in the table. As such, the parties agreed that the exact amount of travel claims wrongly received by the Registrant had not been accurately quantified.

58. The Registrant admitted that he completed workflow sheets for sessions which he did not deliver. He also accepted that he claimed travel expenses for sessions which he did not deliver.

59. The Panel therefore found Particular 7 proved.

Particular 8 – Found Proved
60. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s admission of dishonesty in his witness statement, and the full admission made on his behalf by his counsel to this Particular in the hearing. In the agreed statement of facts, the Registrant accepted that it was dishonest to claim travel expenses for sessions which he did not carry out.

61. The agreed statement of facts set out the Registrant’s assertion, accepted by the HCPC, that the travel expense claims were made not for financial gain, but to suggest that he had provided RPS sessions which he had not in fact undertaken.

62. The Panel considered the actual state of the Registrant’s knowledge or belief as to the facts. In considering the evidence, and the Registrant’s admissions, the Panel found that the Registrant, in making the travel claims, intended to deceive the Service that he had been undertaking the sessions which he had not been delivering. The Panel found that this conduct was dishonest applying the objective standards of ordinary, decent people. This is because, by those standards, claiming travel expenses to deceive the employer into believing that he had done work when he had not, was clearly dishonest.

63. The Panel therefore found this Particular proved.

64. The Panel noted further matters at this stage which it considered would be relevant for subsequent stage, should those stages be reached. The agreed statement of facts set out that on 8 June 2018 the Registrant met with JA and he had told her that he was behind in his paperwork, that he was extremely distressed; and that JA advised him to consult his GP to arrange sick leave. It is agreed between the parties that the Registrant did thereafter contact his GP, was certified as unfit to work, and was given counselling through the Service’s private healthcare provider. The GP’s “fit notes” certify that the Registrant was unfit to work due to stress. The Panel found, on the balance of probabilities, that the Registrant was suffering from stress at the times that he visited his GP, as set out in the “fit notes”.

Decision on Grounds
65. The Panel took into account the written and oral submissions of Mr Millin that the facts found proved constituted misconduct. Mr Millin made clear that he did not submit that any of the facts found proved constituted lack of competence. Mr Doherty’s position on behalf of the Registrant was that misconduct was accepted, and that this was not a lack of competency case.

66. In considering whether the facts found proved constituted misconduct, the Panel was aware that there was no burden of proof at this stage and that misconduct was a matter for its own professional judgment. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred to the case of Roylance v GMC (No. 2) [2001] AC 311.

67. The Panel was aware that a breach of professional standards such as those contained in the HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (“the Standards”) was not necessarily in itself determinative of whether there was misconduct.

68. The Panel was of the view that the Registrant fell below the following standards:

HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (2016)
2 Communicate appropriately and effectively Work with colleagues
2.5  You must work in partnership with colleagues, sharing your skills, knowledge and experience where appropriate, for the benefit of service users and carers.
2.6  You must share relevant information, where appropriate, with colleagues involved in the care, treatment or other services provided to a service user.

6 Manage risk Identify and minimise risk
6.1  You must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible.

9 Be honest and trustworthy Personal and professional behaviour
9.1  You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.

HCPC Standards of proficiency. Arts therapists (2013)
1 be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
1.1 know the limits of their practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional
1.2  recognise the need to manage their own workload and resources effectively and be able to practise accordingly

3 be able to maintain fitness to practise
3.1 understand the need to maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct
3.2 understand the importance of maintaining their own health

10 be able to maintain records appropriately
10.1  be able to keep accurate, comprehensive and comprehensible records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines
10.2  recognise the need to manage records and all other information in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols and guidelines.

69. The Panel considered that the Registrant’s breaches of the Standards were serious.

70. With regard to Particulars 1(a) – 1(e), the Registrant did not provide the full amount of therapy sessions to those children as part of the RPS service, although he claimed to the Service to have delivered them. He therefore deprived vulnerable children of further sessions which he had started, in circumstances where he had begun to develop a relationship with them as their therapist. He then stopped his sessions, and the delay to the children’s therapy was exacerbated by the Service not being told by the Registrant that he had stopped the sessions, so no replacement therapy could be arranged for many months. 

71. The Panel decided that these were not matters of lack of competence. There is no evidence to suggest that the Registrant was deficient in the skills and knowledge to perform his role. It was a basic requirement of his role that the Registrant be able to attend appointments to deliver sessions. In not doing so, (in the context of not telling the Service), it was a breach of contract and a breach of trust.

72. The Panel decided that the Registrant fell far below what was expected of him in the circumstances putting vulnerable service users at risk, and that fellow practitioners would consider his conduct to be deplorable. The Panel decided that his omissions were serious enough to constitute misconduct.

73. With regard to Particulars 2(a) – 2(g) the Registrant did not provide any therapy sessions at all to some children, as part of the RPS service, although he claimed to the Service to have delivered them. He therefore deprived vulnerable children of music therapy sessions to be delivered by him. They had to wait several months before the Service found out about the lack of provision, and could organise replacement therapy sessions. This had potentially deleterious effects upon the children, who had been assessed as in urgent need of such therapy.

74. The Panel decided that these were not matters of lack of competence. There is no evidence to suggest that the Registrant was deficient in the skills and knowledge to perform his role. It was a basic requirement of his role that the Registrant be able to attend appointments to deliver sessions. In not doing so, (in the context of not telling the Service), it was a breach of contract and a breach of trust.

75. The Panel decided that the Registrant fell far below what was expected of him in the circumstances putting vulnerable service users at risk, and that fellow practitioners would consider his conduct to be deplorable. The Panel decided that his omissions were serious enough to constitute misconduct.

76. With regard to Particulars 3 – 6, the Registrant did not record his notes of his music therapy sessions at Day Care Centres One, Two and Three and the Special Education School. As explained by JA in her evidence, it was not possible to know who the Registrant saw at these venues. Record-keeping was vital in order to show what therapy was provided, to whom, and to allow subsequent therapists to be able to know what had been achieved, and to assess what was needed in terms of continuity of therapy for the service users in question. There is no evidence to suggest that the Registrant was deficient in the skills and knowledge to perform his role. It was a basic requirement of his role that the Registrant be able to make notes of his sessions. Therefore, these are not matters of lack of competence. The Panel decided that he fell far below what was expected of him in the circumstances, and that his omissions were serious enough to constitute misconduct.

77. With regard to his dishonesty, the Registrant breached fundamental values and standards of his profession relating to the requirement for honesty and trustworthiness at all times. His admitted motivation was to deceive his employer into believing that he was carrying out the therapy sessions which he had set out in his workflow sheets and for which he was claiming travel expenses. The Panel was satisfied that fellow professionals would consider this to be deplorable, and that in circumstances the Registrant’s misconduct fell so far short of the standards expected of him and was so serious, that it constituted misconduct.

Decision on Impairment 
78. The Registrant gave evidence at the impairment stage. He adopted his witness statement dated 10 January 2021. What follows is not a complete record of the Registrant’s oral evidence, but a summary of significant parts of it.
 
79. The Registrant told the Panel that he agreed with its decision on facts.

80. The Registrant stated that he was currently working as a classroom assistant in a school for children with special needs

81. He gave further information to the Panel about the two major incidents in 2017 which affected him and his work. The first incident was that while attending a secure mental health unit in May 2017 to provide music therapy. The second incident was in June 2017. The Registrant gave evidence that he has been heavily involved in coaching Gaelic football. Following a coaching session in June 2017, he and the team left in their cars, but within a few minutes one of the cars carrying two of the team had crashed into a garden. The Registrant had been following in his car and was the first on the scene, witnessing the severe injuries sustained by two young women. He stayed with them and waited for the ambulance. The Registrant spoke of how these incidents began to affect him and his work. He also spoke of how later, through counselling he understood vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue also affected him as a result of working with vulnerable children and adults as part of his work.

82. The Registrant said that he was overwhelmed and struggling with work. He said that coming out of University to his first full-time role with the Service, he was not prepared for the transition. He stated that he did not try to tell his employer that he was not doing the work he should have done. He accepted full responsibility for his actions, and also that it was his responsibility to seek the help available if he felt he could not cope with his workload.

83. The Registrant told the Panel that the initial six sessions of counselling which he undertook in June and July 2018, were paid for by private insurance linked to his employment with the Service. He stated that for the next 12 months he had used the support provided by his family to help him, then in September 2019 he began counselling with a psychotherapist which he paid for himself. This had been ongoing for 16 months and was initially on a weekly basis, and then more recently had taken place monthly.

84. The Registrant explained that he met with JA at the June meeting in 2018 in order to bring in all his files to try and piece together, with JA, what had happened. He resigned because he knew that what he had done was wrong and was misconduct, that it had caused a detriment to the Service, and he felt that resignation was the best thing to do for the Service and for himself. The Registrant explained to the Panel that since then he had not worked as a Music Therapist because he felt that the Panel should determine if he could work as a therapist. He stated that he was very sorry, very embarrassed and that it was a very negative thing that had happened. He did not want to practise until the outcome of the hearing.

85. When cross-examined, the Registrant’s evidence was that if he were to start a new role and found himself struggling again, he would not just carry on without addressing the concerns. He stated that it had been two and a half years since the incidents and that he had learnt from what happened. He had realised he should ask for help, and he felt he had grown and matured and understood himself. He confirmed that his current employer was aware of his attendance at this hearing.

86. The Registrant expressed his understanding that children who did not receive the therapy sessions from him, at the time at which they were supposed to receive them, did not get music therapy in the timely fashion required. He stated that he felt very ashamed of that. He realised colleagues had to work to ensure those sessions were delivered and referred to the impact of his misconduct on his colleagues and the reputational impact on the Service.

87. The Panel was informed by Mr Doherty that the Registrant had not been the subject of any interim order.

88. The Panel reminded itself of the positive testimonials submitted by the Registrant, including one from the Vice Principal of the special needs school where the Registrant currently works as a classroom assistant with young people who have special needs. This testimonial attests to the Registrant’s empathy and sensitivity to the young people in his care, his excellent communication skills and strong interpersonal skills, and his valued contribution to school life. He is said to have given generously of his time outside his contracted hours, and is “heavily involved in extracurricular activities” including music lessons. He is said to be “very nurturing of all pupils”, but has a special bond with those involved in music lessons. The Panel noted that he has a long record of voluntary work and contribution to his community.

89. The Panel saw further GP records of the Registrant which demonstrated that he had not sought any further help or treatment for stress or any other mental health issues since July 2018. The Panel also saw a letter from his current counsellor dated 14 January 2021 which confirmed that she had no concerns about the Registrant’s mental health and that she was of the view that he had made good progress in therapy. 


90. The Panel considered Mr Millin’s submissions, both oral and written. He submitted that the Registrant was impaired on both the personal and public components, and that such a finding was required in order to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the profession. 

91. Mr Doherty submitted that the Registrant had shown insight, understood the impact that his actions had had in the unusual context of the admitted misconduct and that he had remediated. Mr Doherty drew attention to the glowing testimonials about the Registrant and that in the particular circumstances of the case, it was open to the Panel to find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was not currently impaired.

92. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred to CHRE v (1) NMC (2) Grant [2011] EWHC 927. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’”. The Panel was aware that impairment is a matter for its own independent judgment and that public protection and the wider public interest should be considered.

93. The Panel took into account that prior to these matters, the Registrant had been a person of good character, and that prior to and subsequent to these matters, he had not been the subject of any disciplinary or regulatory findings.

94. The Panel bore in mind its previous decision on facts, which was informed by the agreed statement of facts which set out that the dishonestly claimed travel expenses were not claimed for financial gain but rather to lead the Service to believe that certain RPS sessions had been undertaken by the Registrant when they in fact had not.

95.  The Panel also reminded itself that it had previously found as a matter of fact that, on the basis of the GP’s “fit notes”, the Registrant had been suffering from stress when he saw his GP in June and July 2018.

96. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s oral evidence during the impairment stage of the hearing, and all the documents submitted on his behalf, including his positive references, his letter of resignation to the Service dated 3 July 2018, as well as his training certificate in ‘Time Management’ dated 3 October 2020. The Panel noted the period of over three years since the start of the misconduct, and some two and a half years since the June meeting in 2018. The Panel also took into account that at the time in question he was 25 years of age, and that his role with the Service was his first professional role after leaving University.

97. The Registrant apologised in his evidence, and expressed remorse and shame. The Panel found the Registrant to be a credible and straightforward witness. The Panel also took into account the Registrant’s admissions to his employer and as part of the regulatory process, his co-operation with his regulator including his early admissions on the facts. The Panel considered that the Registrant showed some degree of insight into the effect of his misconduct. He expressed a recognition of the impact of his misconduct on service users, as well as the Service, his colleagues and the wider profession but this was done in very broad terms. The Panel examined carefully the evidence of his insight into the impact of his misconduct on the children and other service users. The Panel found that this was undeveloped and did not demonstrate sufficiently real and meaningful reflection. For example, when giving evidence about his failure to attend and provide music therapy sessions to the children in Particulars 1 and 2, he failed to demonstrate or articulate an understanding of the consequences of his failings including the potential impact of those failings on these vulnerable children. This included the potential impact that such an unexplained and unexpected rupture in the therapeutic relationship could have had with this vulnerable client group who he states has many issues relating to low self-worth and esteem.

98. The Panel considered the Registrant’s remediation of the misconduct. The Panel was of the view that he has undertaken a degree of remediation. He has undertaken counselling, which is ongoing, in order to understand his behaviour, which has helped him mature and grow as a person.  However, the Panel also took into account the stress which he was under and for which he was signed off as unfit to work in June and July 2018. The Panel accepted that the Registrant was greatly affected by the two incidents in 2017 as set out above, and which affected his work. The Registrant’s evidence was also that he suffered from vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue in respect of his own service users. While there was no independent medical evidence of this, the Panel took into account that according to the evidence of JA, this is a “risk” common to therapists. Whilst the Registrant’s evidence was that this was something that he only learnt about during his counselling sessions, he did not tell the Panel how this would inform his future practice.

99. The Registrant has not practised as a music therapist since his resignation from the Service. The Panel did not criticise him for the reasons for this decision. However, it has meant that the Registrant has not been put in the same circumstances in which he found himself at the Service. He has not, since his employment at the Service, managed a busy therapeutic schedule at different venues, seeing a variety of service users, while being exposed to the risk of vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue, and having to deal with his own stresses which are an inevitable part of everyday life.

100. In light of the Registrant’s still incomplete insight, as well as the lack of a successful record of practice as a Music Therapist since working for the Service, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s remediation could not be said to be sufficient at this stage.

101. The Panel took into account the questions formulated by Dame Janet Smith in the Fifth Shipman report, as set out in the case of CHRE v (1) NMC and (2) Grant  [2011] EWHC 927, which are presented in Grant  as a test of impairment and ask whether a practitioner:

“a. has in the past acted and/or is liable in the future to act so as to put a patient or patients at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or

b. has in the past brought and/or is liable in the future to bring the medical profession into disrepute; and/or

c. has in the past breached and/or is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the medical profession; and/or

d. has in the past acted dishonestly and/or is liable to act dishonestly in the future."

102. The Panel decided that, in respect of the misconduct found proved, the Registrant had put service users at an unwarranted risk of harm in the past, brought the profession into disrepute, breached fundamental tenets of the profession, and acted dishonestly.

103. The Panel considered the circumstances before it, including the degree of insight and remediation shown, as set out above. In light of the insufficient insight and remediation, the Panel was satisfied that there was a real risk that the Registrant would put service users at unwarranted risk of harm, bring the profession into disrepute, breach fundamental tenets and act dishonestly in the future.

104. The Panel next considered the wider public interest. The Panel concluded that the misconduct was serious. It had potentially serious consequences for his service users, which included vulnerable children.  In addition, the dishonesty, by which the Registrant sought to deceive his employer into thinking that he had carried out therapy sessions which he had not, was repeated several times over many months. He breached his employer’s trust. This was significant in light of the fact that he was working autonomously with trust placed in him to manage his schedule and his record-keeping, and to claim his expenses. In the circumstances, the Panel decided that the need to uphold proper standards of conduct and performance, and the need to maintain confidence in the profession would be undermined if no finding of impairment were made.

105. The Panel therefore found the Registrant to be impaired on both the personal and public components.

106. Prior to the start of the reconvened hearing, Mr Millen, on behalf of the HCPC, and Mr Doherty, on behalf of the Registrant, provided the Panel with written submissions addressing sanction. The Panel read both of the parties’ submissions prior to the start of the hearing.

Submissions
107. Mr Millen made the following submissions:
i. the HCPC always remain neutral on the question of sanction;
ii. the HCPC’s ‘Sanctions Policy’ (‘the Sanctions Policy’) reminded the Panel that the general purpose of sanction is not to punish but to protect the public, although it is recognised that sanction may have a punitive effect;
iii. the Panel should have regard to the positive testimonials submitted on behalf of the Registrant;
iv. in Bolton v Law Society [1994] 1 WLR 512, CA LJ Bingham stated that ‘The reputation of the profession is more important that the fortunes of the individual member. Membership of a profession brings many benefits but that is a part of the price’;
v. the Panel should have regard to any insight demonstrated by the Registrant, along with the context of his misconduct, any apology, remorse and/or evidence of remediation;
vi. the Panel had already found, at paragraphs 97 and 100 of its determination, that the Registrant’s insight was incomplete and ‘undeveloped’; and
vii. where a Panel have found there has been limited insight, the High Court has made it clear that a Panel should not suspend for the purpose of allowing a Registrant to develop full insight. The Panel must judge the degree of insight shown at the date of the hearing.

108. In respect of aggravating and mitigating factors, Mr Millen submitted the following:

Aggravating features:
i. there was actual/potential harm;
ii. there had been a breach of trust (of the employer);
iii. the breach had impacted numerous vulnerable service users;
iv. the Registrant had a lack of fully developed insight;
v. the Registrant’s misconduct was repeated;
vi. there was a lack of remediation; and
vii. a risk of repetition.

Mitigating features:
i. the Registrant had made early admissions to all allegations;
ii. he had co-operated with the employer, the HCPC and the Panel;
iii. the Registrant had provided an explanation for his misconduct;
iv. he had demonstrated a degree of insight; and
v. he had shown remorse.

109. Mr Millen also drew the Panel’s attention to relevant case law on dishonesty in respect in determining the sanction. This included: Tate v Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons [2003] UKPC 34; Abbas v General Medical Council [2017] EWHC 51 (Admin); Solicitors Regulatory Authority v James, Macgregor and Taylor [2018] EWHC 3058 (Admin); Lusinga v NMC [2017] EWHC 1458 (Admin); and Habib Khan v General Pharmaceutical Council [2016] UKSC 64.

110. Mr Doherty submitted the following on the Registrant’s behalf:
i. the Panel should have regard to the Sanctions Policy and the following propositions:
a) sanctions should only be imposed in relation to the facts found proved;
b) sanctions are not intended to punish the Registrant but ensure that the public is protected;
c) sanction decisions must be proportionate;
d) the sanction imposed should represent the minimum action necessary to ensure that the public is protected;
e) panels must give due consideration to all of the information available to them including wider contextual factors in the case;
f) mitigating information may reduce the severity of the sanction required, or in some cases mean that no sanction at all is required;
g) a key factor is likely to be the extent to which the Registrant recognises their failings and is willing to address them;
h) genuine insight, remorse or an apology can demonstrate that the risk of repetition, risk to service users and risk of damage to public confidence in the profession is reduced;
i) it is unlikely, following a finding of impaired fitness to practise, that a panel will take no action but this course is open to the Panel; and
j) the Panel should start by considering the least restrictive sanction working upwards only where necessary and the sanction should be the minimum action required to protect the public.

111. Mr Doherty drew the Panel’s attention to the following caselaw: Davey v General Dental Council [2015] EWHC 3495 (Admin); O v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2015] EWHC 2949 (Admin); and Professional Standards Authority v HCPC & Ghaffar [2014] EWHC 2708 (Admin). 

112. Mr Doherty also submitted the following on the Registrant’s behalf:
i. the Registrant had fully accepted the factual findings of the Panel;
ii. the Registrant also accepted full responsibility for his actions and is aware of the fact that it was his responsibility to come forward with issues relating to his caseload;
iii. the Registrant gave evidence that he understood that the appropriate place to raise any issues was during supervision sessions and accepted that his conduct had been lacking, thus demonstrating an understanding of how he ought to address issues moving forward in his future practice;
iv. the Panel had found the Registrant to be a person of good character and that prior to these matters, he had not been the subject of any disciplinary or regulatory findings;
v. the Panel had found that the dishonestly claimed travel expenses had not been made for financial gain;
vi. the Panel further found the Registrant to be a ‘credible’ and ‘straightforward’ witness who had apologised in his evidence and had expressed remorse and shame at his actions;
vii. the Panel determined that the Registrant showed some degree of insight into the effect of his misconduct and expressed recognition of the impact of his misconduct on service users, as well as the Service, his colleagues and the wider profession, albeit in broad terms;
viii. the Panel also found that the Registrant had undertaken a degree of remediation. In support of this finding the Panel had regard to the counselling that the Registrant had undertaken, which had helped him to mature and grow as a person.

113. Mr Doherty also invited the Panel to consider the following:
i. the misconduct is historic having occurred between September 2017 and June 2018;
ii. the Registrant assisted Music Harmony, his employer, to determine what sessions had not been provided by attending a meeting with JA thereby helping to ensure that all service users were eventually provided with their therapy;
iii. the Registrant has fully co-operated with the HCPC and the Panel;
iv. the Registrant gave evidence when he could have elected not to;
v. to his credit, the Registrant made full and frank admissions;
vi. there have been no other issues with the Registrant’s work within his field of practice;
vii. there have been no issues with his work with his current employer, although this was not within his registered field of practice;
viii. the Registrant has undertaken significant voluntary and community work which attests to his character;
ix. the Registrant has produced powerful testimonials; and
x. the Fitness to Practise regulatory process has been a stressful one and the Panel should consider both the length of time since the HCPC referral and also the time that had elapsed since 15 January 2021 when the finding of impairment was made.

114. Mr Doherty accepted that cases involving dishonesty came at the top end of the sanctions spectrum. However, he submitted that a distinction could be made between the legal and accountancy professions on one hand and the healthcare professions on the other. In the former, dishonesty would result in striking off in all but the most exceptional cases, but this was not the case for healthcare professions.

115. Mr Doherty submitted that a Caution Order should not be ruled out in this case, stressing to the Panel that the Registrant was a newly qualified therapist thrust into a difficult role. He reminded the Panel that since the incident, the Registrant now has a greater understanding of vicarious trauma than he did at the time. He submitted that through the method of dealing with his issues the Registrant has reduced the risk of repetition although he can’t say there is no risk of repetition. In light of these factors, and in particular the remorse and insight shown, his good character and the degree of remediation shown, a Caution Order would protect the public.

116. Mr Doherty also submitted that if the Panel did not accept his submission on the Caution Order that a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate. He further submitted to the Panel that a Strike Off Order would not be proportionate in this case as the Registrant is a therapist with much to offer both to his profession and the wider public. Mr Doherty submitted that in the alternative to a Caution Order a short period of suspension was the appropriate order to impose in this case.

Decision on Sanction
117.  In reaching its decision on sanction, the Panel had regard to the Sanctions Policy issued by the HCPC and took into account the oral and written submissions of Mr Millen and Mr Doherty. The Panel also took into account all of the information presented to it previously, including the testimonials presented on the Registrant’s behalf. The Panel also noted the cases, cited above, brought to its attention by Mr Millen and Mr Doherty and affirmed by the Legal Assessor whose advice it accepted.

118. The Panel had in mind the fact that the purpose of sanction was not to punish the Registrant, but to protect the public, maintain public confidence in the profession and maintain proper standards of conduct and performance. The Panel was also cognisant of the need to ensure that any sanction would be proportionate.

119. The Panel had regard to the Registrant’s earlier oral evidence. It noted that, although the Registrant had been afforded three months to reflect on the Panel’s findings of fact and its decision in respect of impairment, he had chosen not to provide any further testimonials, insights or reflections regarding his conduct prior to the Panel’s consideration of sanction. Further, the Panel noted that the Registrant had also chosen not to provide further details of any other training courses that he had undertaken or provide an update in respect of his ongoing counselling.

120. The Panel gave the Registrant credit for engaging with his employer when his conduct had come to light; for engaging in the regulatory proceedings; and for his initial attempts to remediate his conduct by seeking counselling. The Panel also credited the Registrant for his previous good character and for the positive testimonials provided on his behalf.

121. However, the Panel considered that the Registrant’s dishonest conduct lay at the upper end of the scale of misconduct. His dishonesty was repeated and took place over a significant period of time. It resulted in a breach of his employer’s trust. He had deceived his employer in respect of the appointments that he had claimed to have attended with very vulnerable service users; and also in respect of the claimed travel expenses in order to cover up the missed appointments. Further, his actions led to a breach of the trust of vulnerable service users, and their families, to whom he was responsible for providing treatment; and also in respect of his colleagues who had to take over from him, without the benefit of case notes, in some instances. Additionally, the Panel considered that the Registrant had brought the profession into disrepute by his actions and that fellow practitioners and the public would expect a higher standard of integrity from him.

122. In the absence of any further evidence to demonstrate otherwise, the Panel remained of the view that the Registrant’s insight into his actions was incomplete. The Panel also noted that whilst the Registrant had apologised for his actions and has shown some remorse, he had yet to demonstrate full remediation for his actions. Consequently, in the Panel’s view, there remained a risk of repetition in respect of his conduct.

123. Furthermore, the Panel could not accept the implication of Mr Doherty’s submission that there was no evidence of harm in this case. In the Panel’s view, it was a reasonable inference to draw that there was potential harm to very vulnerable service users in this case because the Registrant had failed to attend pre-arranged sessions at which they were due to receive treatment from him. Further, the Registrant’s actions also had the potential to impact those service users who were mid-treatment with him by rupturing the therapeutic relationship that had begun to be established between them. Also, by leaving his colleagues without accurate case-notes to establish what progress these service users had already made, there could have been a negative impact on their future treatment.

124. The Panel considered the aggravating factors in this case to be as follows:
i. the Registrant’s conduct amounted to a breach of trust;
ii. the Registrant’s conduct was repeated, deliberate and lasted for a significant period of time;
iii. the Registrant had demonstrated a lack of insight in respect of how his conduct impacted upon the very vulnerable service users to whom he was required to provide treatment;
iv. the Registrant had not yet fully remediated; and
v. there remained a risk of repetition.
 
125. The Panel considered the following mitigating factors:
i. the Registrant made full admissions to the Allegation before the Panel;
ii. he has no previous disciplinary record in his career as a Music Therapist and was doing well in his current employment, albeit in a different field of work;
iii. the Registrant had demonstrated some insight;
iv. he had shown remorse and had apologised for his conduct;
v. there had been material underlying stress issues at the time which the Registrant had sought counselling to address;
vi. the dishonest travel claims were not made for financial gain;
vii. he had provided positive testimonials; and
viii. he had been working in circumstances which were less than favourable for a new entrant to the profession, in that there had been a lack of adequate, appropriate supervision and support, given the peripatetic and lone-working nature of his employment.

126. In light of the seriousness of the misconduct, the Panel considered that it was not an appropriate case in which to take no further action. This would not protect the public from the risks identified by the Panel and taking no action would not uphold the public’s confidence in the regulator or the profession.

127. The Panel then considered whether to caution the Registrant. The Panel considered that such a sanction would not reflect adequately the seriousness of the misconduct in this case. The Panel also had regard to the Sanctions Policy and noted that the Registrant’s conduct was not isolated, limited in nature or relatively minor. Whilst the Registrant had shown some insight, it was not sufficient to address the risk of repetition identified by the Panel. Further, the Panel also noted that whilst the Registrant had engaged in some remediation, by attending a counsellor, he was unable to remedy completely the behaviour because he still lacked the necessary insight in respect of his conduct. The Panel considered that public confidence in the profession, and the HCPC as its regulator, would be undermined if such misconduct was dealt with by way of a caution.

128. The Panel next considered whether to place conditions on the Registrant’s registration. It noted that the Registrant’s underlying issues could possibly be remedied. However, the Panel noted that a Conditions of Practice Order would ordinarily be used to address areas of deficient practice; and this is not the concern in respect of the Registrant’s conduct in this case. Further, the Panel also noted paragraph 108 of the Sanctions Policy, which states that conditions of practice would not usually be appropriate in cases concerning dishonesty. The Panel also had regard to paragraph 109 of the Sanctions Policy, which states that a Conditions of Practice Order may be appropriate when the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant’s conduct was ‘minor, out of character, capable of remediation and unlikely to be repeated’.

129. The Registrant’s misconduct was not ‘minor’. The Panel considered that the Registrant’s dishonest conduct was serious. The behaviour was capable of remediation but this was, as indicated above, incomplete. Therefore, the Panel considered that a conditions of practice order was not appropriate in this case.

130. The Panel next considered whether a suspension order would be appropriate. The Panel considered that the facts found proved represented a serious breach of the Standards of Conduct expected of a Music Therapist. The Panel also noted that whilst the Registrant had not yet demonstrated full insight into his actions, he had demonstrated some insight and that his failings were capable of being remediated. Consequently, whilst the Panel could not yet be satisfied that the Registrant did not pose any risk to the public, the Panel acknowledged that the Registrant had been working without restriction for some time, without further concerns being raised, albeit in an unrelated field. The Panel considered that, whilst it could not rule out the risk of repetition, the risk of the Registrant’s engaging in the same behaviour again, was quite low.

131. Further, the Panel heard no reasons why the Registrant would not be able to address his failings in the future. The Panel heard evidence that the Registrant had taken some steps towards remediating his conduct. The Panel has already determined that the Registrant could remediate and that he was beginning the journey toward full insight and remediation. The Panel therefore considered that a Suspension Order would reflect the seriousness of the Registrant’s failings and send a clear message to the wider profession and the public that such conduct was not acceptable. In light of all the matters highlighted in this case, the Panel considered that this was a suitable case for a period of suspension.

132. The Panel also considered that to strike the Registrant from the Register, which is a sanction of last resort, would be disproportionate at this stage and that a lesser sanction was therefore appropriate in this case. The Panel considered that the Registrant is a practitioner, who was well regarded by his current employer, peers and colleagues and the Panel accepted that he has the potential to offer a lot to the Music Therapist profession. The Panel also accepted that the Registrant found himself, as a new entrant to the profession, working in an environment where he lacked the appropriate support and supervision from his employer. Further, the Panel also determined that, whilst he was struggling to cope with his work and suffering from that stress, he had also been party to two extremely significant and traumatic incidents, closely linked in time, which would have been out of the ordinary and difficult for an experienced practitioner to deal with, let alone a practitioner new to the profession. The Panel accepted that this further contributed to his high levels of stress. For all of the reasons outlined above, the Panel considered that to strike the Registrant from the Register, at this time, would be disproportionate.

133. Accordingly, the Panel make an Order directing the Registrar to suspend the registration of the Registrant for a period of 12 months. The Panel considers that a 12-month period of suspension is appropriate. This will allow the Registrant sufficient time to address his insight and remediation and in addition, would also satisfy the public interest in terms of maintaining appropriate standards of conduct and behaviour and restore confidence in the profession.
134. The Panel considered that a reviewing panel would be assisted by the following:
i. the Registrant’s attendance at a future review hearing;
ii. a detailed reflective piece on the impact of his conduct on service users, the profession and the wider public;
iii. evidence of any on-going professional development and CPD as a Music Therapist;
iv. evidence and reports relating to steps taken to prepare for re-entry to practise in the profession; and
v. up-to-date testimonials from any line manager/ supervisor/ employer, whether paid or unpaid.

Order

The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Caolan Hendron for a period of 12 months from the date this Order comes into effect.

Notes

Right of Appeal
You may appeal to the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland against the Panel’s decision and the order it has made against you.

Under Article 29(10) of the Health Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you. The Panel’s order will not take effect until the appeal period has expired or, if you appeal, until that appeal is disposed of or withdrawn.

Interim Order
The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest. The Panel considered that not to impose an interim order would be perverse in view of its findings and that public confidence in the profession would be seriously damaged if the Registrant were permitted to resume holding unrestricted practise pending the expiration of the appeal period in light of its findings.

This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Caolan Hendron

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
26/04/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended
11/01/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard