Mr Gary Hill
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(as amended on day 1 of the hearing, namely 22 April 2021)
As a registered Operating Department Practitioner (ODP17291) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of a health condition. In that:
1. On 20 July 2018, you attended your shift at Royal Hallamshire Hospital whilst unfit to do so [Redacted].
2. During your employment as Operating Department Practitioner with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, you did not adequately notify and/or update your manager about your absence and/or continued absence on and/or between:
(i) 22 March 2016 and 24 March 2016
(ii) 02 September 2016
(iii) 19 April 2017
3. You have a physical and/or mental health condition as set out in Schedule A.
4. By reason of your misconduct and/or health your fitness to practise is impaired.
Service of Notice
1. The Notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant on 1 March 2021 by email at his email address as it appeared on the HCPC Register. The Notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.
2. The Registrant has acknowledged receipt of the email, confirming that he will not be attending the hearing.
3. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and was satisfied that Notice of today’s hearing has been served in accordance with Rule 6(1) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Health Committee) Procedure Rules 2003 (“the Rules”).
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
4. The Panel then went on to consider whether to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules. In doing so, it considered the submissions of Mr Foxsmith on behalf of the HCPC.
5. Mr Foxsmith submitted that the HCPC had taken all reasonable steps to serve the Notice on the Registrant by registered post and email. He further submitted that the Registrant has engaged with the HCPC to the extent that he has sent an email on 1 March 2021 in which he stated that “I will not be attending the hearing or connecting via on line. I have no representation”.
6. He reminded the Panel that the Registrant had not applied for an adjournment, he had not given any good reason for not being able to attend today’s hearing and that there was a public interest in the hearing being heard expeditiously.
7. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He referred the Panel to the case of R V Jones & Hayward  UKHL 5 and GMC v Adeogba and Visvardis  EWCA Civ 162. He advised that the Adeogba case reminded the Panel that its primary objective is the protection of the public and the public interest. In that regard, the case of Adeogba was clear that, “where there is good reason not to proceed, the case should be adjourned; where there is not, however, it is only right that it should proceed”.
8. The Panel was mindful of the need to ensure that fairness and justice were maintained when deciding whether or not to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
9. In deciding whether to exercise its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel took into consideration the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant”. The Panel weighed its responsibility for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case against the Registrant’s right to be present at the hearing.
10. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPC to notify the Registrant of the hearing.
11. In reaching its decision, the Panel took into account the following:
• The Registrant has confirmed that he will not be attending the hearing and that he will not be represented;
• The Registrant was not asking for an adjournment;
• There was a public interest in hearings being held expeditiously;
• An expert witness, had attended to give evidence.
12. The Panel determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance at a later date. Having weighed the public interest for expedition against the Registrant’s own interests, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.
Application to hear the hearing in private.
13. Mr Foxsmith submitted that matters relating to the Registrant’s health and other matters relating to his private life will be referred to throughout the course of the hearing. He therefore submitted that it was therefore appropriate that the entirety of the hearing be held in private.
14. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and it noted Rule 10(1)(a) of the Rules whereby matters pertaining to the private life of the Registrant, the complainant, any person giving evidence or of any Patient or Client should be heard in private. It also had regard to the HCPC’s Practice Notes on Conducting Hearings in Private and on Health Concerns. The Panel therefore agreed that, given the nature of the hearing, relating as it did to the Registrant’s health and other private matters, it should be heard in private in its entirety.
Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Gary Hill for a period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect.
1. The Panel concluded [Redacted] that an Interim Suspension Order is necessary for protection of the public and is also in the public interest. It would be wholly incompatible with the Panel’s findings and its decision as to sanction not to impose an Interim Suspension Order.
2. The Panel concluded that the appropriate length of the Interim Suspension Order should be 18 months, as the Interim Order would continue to be required pending the resolution of an appeal in the event that the Registrant submits a Notice of Appeal within the 28-day period. This Interim Suspension Order will expire if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision when the appeal period of 28 days has expired.
3. 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.