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Remote hearing conducted via videoconference
1. In line with the current guidance from HM Government in relation to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, this hearing was conducted by videoconference in accordance with Rule 2A of the Health and Care Professions Council (Investigating Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (as amended) (“the Rules”).
2. The Panel was provided with a copy of the amended Notice of today’s hearing, dated 13 August 2021, which confirmed the date, time and nature of today’s hearing and explained that it would be conducted on the papers unless a virtual hearing was requested.
3. This notice was sent to the Registrant by email to her registered email address and a copy was also sent to the Registrant’s representatives, Thompsons Solicitors. The Panel had sight of confirmation of the delivery of both emails on 13 August 2021.
4. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and was satisfied that service had been effected in accordance with Rule 3 of the Rules.
Proceeding with a hearing on the papers
5. The Panel received a skeleton argument dated 20 August 2021 from Miss Joanne Kane, Presenting Officer on behalf of the HCPC, in which she invited the Panel to review the interim order in this case on a documents-only basis.
6. The Panel noted that the Registrant’s representatives responded to the amended notice of hearing in an email dated 17 August 2021 in the following terms:
“We refer to the recent correspondence from the HCPC enclosing details of the review hearing listed for 23 August 2021.
I confirm therefore that neither the Registrant, nor a legal representative, propose being in attendance at the hearing and request that this be conducted on papers only. Kindly note that no discourtesy is intended by the Registrant or her legal representative, but this request is made simply by way of means to save time and costs for all parties…”
7. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and was mindful that the discretion to proceed in the absence of a Registrant is one which should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. The Panel also had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant”.
8. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable steps had been taken by the HCPC to inform the Registrant of this hearing. Furthermore, the Registrant’s representatives have confirmed that the Registrant is content for the hearing to be conducted on the papers. In these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had made an informed decision not to attend this review hearing and had instead chosen to submit written representations and evidence for the consideration of the Panel through her legal representatives. The Panel was further satisfied that an adjournment would not result in the attendance of the Registrant on a subsequent date and that there was a clear public interest in the expeditious hearing of this mandatory review hearing.
9. The Panel therefore decided that it was fair and in the public interest to conduct this review hearing on a documents-only basis in the absence of the Registrant.
Application for a private hearing
10. In her skeleton argument, Ms Kane applied for the entirety of the hearing to be held in private. This was because the matters under consideration are intrinsically linked to the Registrant’s health and sensitive personal circumstances.
11. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and to the HCPTS practice note on holding hearings in private.
12. The Panel noted that the previous hearings in relation to this matter had been held in private but exercised its own judgement in relation to the application made today.
13. The Panel was satisfied that the references to the Registrant’s health are such that the entire hearing should be conducted in private under Rule 8(1)(a) of Rules in order to protect the Registrant’s private life.
The Panel’s Decision
14. The Panel accepted the advice it received from the Legal Assessor and has read and taken into consideration the HCPTS Practice Note on Interim Orders. Accordingly, the Panel has approached the decisions it is required to make applying the following principles:
• By virtue of Article 31(2) of the Health and Care Professions Order 2001 there are three grounds that can lead to the imposition of an Interim Order. They are that an interim order is, (i) necessary for the protection of members of the public; (ii) otherwise in the public interest; and (iii) in the interests of the Registrant;
• The Panel is not in a position to make any findings of fact. Its role is to undertake a risk assessment based on the information presented in support of the application for an Interim Order;
• The Panel should consider the nature and seriousness of the allegations made against the Registrant.
• The Panel should consider the reliability and credibility of the evidence presented by the HCPC in support of the application for an Interim Order;
• The Panel must have regard to the proportionality of any Interim Order imposed. It is necessary for the Panel to bear in mind the seriousness of an interference with the Registrant’s ability to practise when nothing has been proved against her. As an Interim Conditions of Practice Order is less restrictive than an Interim Suspension Order, if the Panel determines that an Interim Order is required, it must first consider whether the reasons requiring that Order can be satisfactorily addressed by the imposition of an Interim Conditions of Practice Order. An Interim Suspension Order should only be made if an Interim Order is required and the imposition of an Interim Conditions of Practice Order is not appropriate.
15. In the Panel’s view, the Registrant’s alleged failings are serious and wide-ranging, involving alleged competency, attitudinal and health concerns.
16. The Panel was satisfied that the evidence presented appeared to be credible and reliable and supports a prima facie case in respect of the allegations.
17. The Panel noted the content of the report dated 26 May 2021 from Dr Clare Leeds, Occupational Health Physician. Following an assessment of the Registrant on 18 May 2021, Dr Leeds was of the opinion that the Registrant was fit for a phased to return to work with a structured support plan in place.
18. The Panel further noted that following this recommendation, the Registrant returned to work on 24 June 2021.
19. In the Panel’s view, this is clearly a very positive step. However, the Panel noted from the Registrant’s development plan that there are still areas of concern in relation to her practice. Furthermore, given the very short period of time since the Registrant returned to work, the Panel was of the view that the Registrant has not yet had a sufficient opportunity to demonstrate that she has addressed the concerns raised.
20. In these circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that even though the Registrant has now returned to work and is engaging with the Interim Conditions of Practice Order, there is no new evidence that undermines the continuing necessity for an interim order.
21. In the absence of any new information, the Panel was satisfied that an interim order remains necessary on the grounds of public protection for the same reasons as identified by the previous panels on 4 December 2020 and 28 May 2021.
22. The Panel was further satisfied that an interim order remains necessary in the wider public interest, namely to maintain public confidence in the profession and to promote and maintain proper professional standards. The Panel concluded that a reasonable member of the public with full knowledge of the facts of this case would be very concerned if the Registrant were allowed to return to unrestricted practice whilst theses serious allegations were being investigated by the HCPC.
23. Finally, the Panel was satisfied on the basis of the medical evidence available, that an Interim Order also remains necessary in the Registrant’s own interest at this time.
24. The Panel therefore concluded that an interim order remains necessary on all three of the statutory grounds.
25. Having determined that an interim order remains necessary, the Panel next considered whether the existing Interim Conditions of Practice Order remains the appropriate and proportionate order.
26. The Panel noted that the Registrant continues to have the support of her employer and that she has now returned to work and is fully engaging with existing Interim Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel was therefore satisfied that the terms of the existing order are workable. The Panel was also satisfied that the terms of the existing order adequately address the risks identified, meet the wider public interest concerns and provide an appropriate level of support to the Registrant. Furthermore, the Panel was satisfied that there has been no change in circumstances that would warrant the imposition of an Interim Suspension Order.
27. The Panel therefore decided to confirm the current Interim Conditions of Practice Order.
ORDER: The Interim Conditions of Practice Order imposed on 4 December 2020 is confirmed.
The Order is as follows:
1. You must not carry out the work of an Operating Department Practitioner unless directly supervised by a registered ODP or a Registered Nurse, either of which must be of not less than five years post qualification experience.
2. You must only provide the services of an ODP for the University Hospital of North Durham Theatres, part of the County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust.
3. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered by the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of the Operative Date. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations.
4. You must register with and remain under the care of a General Practitioner and occupational health specialist and inform him or her that you are subject to these conditions.
5. You must inform your General Practitioner and occupational health specialist about these conditions of practice and authorise that person to provide the HCPC with information about your health and any treatment you are receiving.
6. You must keep your professional commitments under review and limit your professional practice in accordance with the advice of your General Practitioner and occupational health specialist.
7. You must cease practising immediately if you are advised to do so by your General Practitioner or occupational health specialist.
8. You must promptly inform the HCPC if you cease to be employed by your current employer or take up any other or further employment.
9. You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer.
10. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:
A. any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work;
B. any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and
C. any prospective employer (at the time of your application).
11. You must work with your workplace supervisor to formulate a Personal Development Plan designed to address the deficiencies in the following areas of your practice:
• Adherence to trust policies regarding patient safety check prior to theatre;
• Maintaining a professional attitude;
• Working safely within your limits.
12. Within three months of the Operative Date you must forward a copy of your Personal Development Plan to the HCPC.
13. You must meet with your workplace supervisor on a monthly basis to consider your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan.
14. You must allow your workplace supervisor to provide information to the HCPC about your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your Personal Development Plan.
History of Hearings for Jade Anderson
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|22/02/2022||Investigating Committee||Interim Order Review||Interim Conditions of Practice|
|22/11/2021||Investigating Committee||Interim Order Review||Interim Conditions of Practice|
|23/08/2021||Investigating Committee||Interim Order Review||Interim Conditions of Practice|
|28/05/2021||Investigating Committee||Interim Order Review||Interim Conditions of Practice|
|04/12/2020||Investigating Committee||Interim Order Application||Interim Conditions of Practice|