Mrs Melanie E Hood

Profession: Physiotherapist

Registration Number: PH48781

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 25/01/2021 End: 17:00 25/01/2021

Location: This hearing is being held virtually.

Panel: Health Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Your fitness to practise as a Physiotherapist is impaired by reason of your health.

Finding

Preliminary matters

Service

1. The Panel determined that the Registrant had been served with the Notice of Hearing by an email dated 9 December 2020 in accordance with the emergency COVID-19 measures instigated by the HCPC for service of Notices of Hearing during this time. These related to the service by email only to the last known registered email address of the Registrant and the fact that the hearing would be by video remote means. In addition, the date, time and nature of the hearing was also set out in the Notice email. The Panel also took into account the fact that the Registrant had acknowledged service of the email of service on 9 December 2020, at a later time of day. It took into account that the HCPC only has to prove service, and not receipt, of that Notice, but it was a useful piece of information for the Panel to know in any event. Thus, the Panel concluded that there had been good service of the Notice of Hearing.

Proceeding in Absence of the Registrant

2. In reaching its conclusion on this, the Panel took into account the HCPTS’s Practice Note relating to Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant and Rule 11 of the HCPC (Health Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the Rules). The Panel also accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. The Panel also took into account the telephone attendance note from Mr D’Alton that stated that he had called the Registrant by telephone to her last known landline number between 13.50 and 14.01 on 22 January 2021. There was no reply each time he tried the number, and the Registrant’s telephone system had no means of leaving a message. Mr D’Alton also checked the Registrant’s last known mobile number and ascertained that it was no longer a valid number.

3. The Panel concluded that the Registrant has not engaged with this hearing process, save to acknowledge having received the Notice of Hearing in her email to the HCPC dated 9 December 2020 at a time after the HCPC sent the Notice to her by email. The Panel further noted that the Registrant has not updated the HCPC with her latest mobile telephone number and that it has been impossible to contact her by telephonic means, despite the HCPC having tried. The Panel also took into consideration that the Registrant has not applied for an adjournment. In addition, the Panel noted that the Registrant had very little contact with the HCPC before and during the substantive hearing on 27 and 28 January 2020, that she did not attend that hearing and that she had not been represented at it.

4. Therefore, the Panel considered that it would be highly unlikely that if the Panel decided to adjourn the hearing today, the Registrant would be unlikely to attend on the next occasion. The Panel concluded that, as this was a time-driven mandatory review, it was important for there to be an expeditious and timely disposal of the hearing. The Panel further concluded that the HCPC had made all reasonable efforts to contact the Registrant by email and by telephone calls.

5. Thus, the Panel determined, having exercised the principle of proportionality, that the public interest in the expeditious disposal of the hearing outweighed any interests of the Registrant, where there has been good service of the Notice of Hearing. The Panel concluded that the Registrant has voluntarily absented herself and, thus, the only fair and proportionate action is that the hearing should proceed in the Registrant’s absence. In any event, the Panel and the Legal Assessor are independent of the HCPC and would be able to ensure that the hearing would be a fair hearing.

Private/Public hearing

6. The Panel heard a submission from Mr D’Alton on the hearing being held in private. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. In reaching its conclusion, the Panel also took into account the HCPTS’s Practice Note on Hearings in Private. The Panel noted that the case concerned the health of the Registrant and, hence, any references to her health fall within matters that should be treated confidentially. Therefore, the Panel determined that this hearing should be heard wholly in private to preserve the Registrant’s private and family life under caselaw and under Rule 10(1)(a) of the Rules. As such this is the public version of the decision.

Order

The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mrs Melanie E Hood for a further period of 12 months on the expiry of the existing order.

The Order will be reviewed again before its expiry.

Notes


Right of Appeal

You may appeal to the High Court in England and Wales 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.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Melanie E Hood

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
25/01/2021 Health Committee Review Hearing Suspended
27/01/2020 Health Committee Final Hearing Suspended