Mrs Kelly Weir

Profession: Operating department practitioner

Registration Number: ODP35448

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 13/07/2021 End: 17:00 13/07/2021

Location: Virtual hearing - Video conference

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

Whilst registered as an Operating Department Practitioner and employed by Nuffield Health, the allegations against the resgitrant are as follows:

1. Removed an ampoule of Tramadol from hospital premises without justification.

 

2. On 29th and 30th April 2017 were unfit for duty, in that you had consumed alcohol and/or Tramadol whilst on call.

 

3. Your action described at paragraph 1 was dishonest.

 

4. Your actions described in paragraphs 1-3 constitute misconduct.

 

5. By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practise as an Operating Department Practitioner is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters
Service

1. There was before the Panel a notice of hearing letter from the HCPC dated 14 June 2021 sent to the Registrant at her email address as registered with the HCPC informing her of the details of today’s hearing. Furthermore, there was also before the Panel email correspondence between the Registrant and the HCPC which indicated that the Registrant was aware of today’s hearing.

2. The Panel was therefore satisfied that notice had been served in accordance with the ‘HCPC (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) (Rules) 2003’.

Application to adjourn


3. The Registrant in an email dated 15 June 2021 informed the HCPC that she would be on holiday the week of the hearing. On 7 - 8 July 2021 the Registrant, again in emails, said that she would be unavailable as she would be on a family holiday.


4. The HCPC treated this correspondence as an application to adjourn today’s review. The Panel has accordingly treated this as an application to adjourn.


5. Mr Mullen on behalf of the HCPC opposed the application. His submission was that this is a mandatory review and that it would be open to the Registrant to attend this virtual hearing visually or by telephone even were she on holiday. Further that the matters suggested by the first reviewing panel that would assist today’s Panel have not been provided by the Registrant. It would be necessary for an adjourned hearing to be held before the expiry of the present suspension order on 22 August 2021 and that in the absence of these matters there would be little by way of significant new information before the Panel.


Decision on application to adjourn


6. In reaching its decision the Panel considered all the information before it including those matters set out by the Registrant in correspondence and the submissions of Mr Mullen. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

7. It has concluded that in the light of the Registrant’s current situation and her explanation for the lack of progress in producing the matters requested by the previous panel it is unlikely that any further significant information from her would be available if there were an adjournment of this review, which would need to be heard before 22 August 2021. The Panel has therefore determined to refuse this application.


Proceeding in Absence

8. Mr Mullen applied under Rule 11 for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.

9. In reaching its decision the Panel had in mind the HCPTS Practice Note ‘Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant’. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

10. The Panel determined that it was reasonable and in the public interest to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant for the following reasons:

• Although there is a potential disadvantage to the Registrant in being unable to address the Panel, she was given the opportunity to attend and was also informed in the notice of hearing that she could make written submissions however she did neither.

• The Registrant has not provided the Panel with the information suggested by the previous reviewing Panel.

• This is a mandatory review which must be determined before the expiry of the current suspension order on 22 August 2021.

• There is a strong public interest in ensuring that this review should now be heard.

• The reasons advanced by the Registrant for her inability to attend today’s hearing are such that her absence amounts to voluntary non attendance and a deliberate waver of her right to attend.

Proceeding in private

11. Mr Mullen observed that there would be references to the Registrant’s health and that it would be appropriate for the Panel to consider whether in accordance with Rule 10(1) any such references should be marked as private. He further commented that the previous panels had taken this course.

12. The Panel concluded that any references to the Registrant’s health should be marked as private.

Background

13. The Registrant is a registered Operating Department Practitioner. On 24-25 July 2019 a panel at a substantive hearing found facts proved as set out above and that they amounted to misconduct.

14. The substantive panel found this to be a serious act of dishonesty by the Registrant, who was in a position of trust, having access to the Scheduled Drug cupboard. Further, she was unfit for duty as a consequence of her consumption of Tramadol and/or alcohol.

15. That panel determined that the Registrant continued to demonstrate a total lack of insight, in that she had not recognised the effect dishonesty of this nature could have on public confidence in the profession. Further, that to be unfit for duty whilst on call could give rise to risk to patient safety. She further had not demonstrated remorse or any remediation.

16. As a consequence, the panel could not be satisfied that misconduct of this nature would not be repeated.

17. In those circumstances, in regard to the personal component, the panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was currently impaired. Furthermore, that a finding of current impairment was also required in the wider public interest. This was necessary to declare and uphold proper professional standards. The public would expect an ODP to act in accordance with these standards. Public confidence in the profession and in the HCPC as regulator would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made.

18. The substantive panel imposed a 12 month Suspension Order.

19. On 14 July 2020 the order was reviewed. The Registrant attended and addressed the panel, which found that she had demonstrated developing insight and had taken very substantial steps towards resuming unrestricted practice.

20. However, the reviewing panel regarded her reengagement with the HCPC to be very recent and commented that she had not produced for the review the reflective piece suggested by the substantive panel. The reviewing panel observed that this might have further indicated the extent of her insight and remediation. Further, the Registrant had not produced references and testimonials as suggested.

21. That reviewing panel therefore concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practice remained impaired. It extended the period of suspension by a further 12 months, referring again to the information suggested as being likely to be helpful at a further review.

Decision

Review hearing today

22. Despite the previous panels’ suggestions of matters that would assist at review.

• A reflective piece from her in regard to the findings of the original panel;

• References and testimonials from past employers and any work undertaken recently;

• Evidence that she is maintaining her professional knowledge;

there was no information from the Registrant save for her description in correspondence of her personal circumstances with regard to caring for her child born during the current period of suspension.

Decision on Impairment

23. Mr Mullen submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired and that there has been no change in her circumstances since the last review.

24. The Panel considered all the information before it including the correspondence from the Registrant indicating her current personal circumstances, together with the submissions of Mr Mullen. It had in mind the current HCPTS guidance entitled ‘Finding that fitness to practise is impaired’. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was aware that it is reviewing the question of whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired in the light of all the current circumstances, and that this is a matter for its independent judgement.

25. The Panel had concluded that in the absence of any further information from the Registrant, particularly in the context of the matters suggested by the previous panels, her fitness to practise remains impaired.

Decision on Sanction

26. Mr Mullen’s submission was that the appropriate sanction would be for a further 12 month period of suspension as this would give the Registrant a further opportunity to provide the information suggested.

27. In reaching its decision the Panel considered all the information before it together with the submissions of Mr Mullen. It had regard to the HCPC’s Sanctions Policy and was aware that sanctions must be proportionate and that its purpose it to uphold the public interest and to protect service users. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

28. The Panel did consider making no further order but the nature of the misconduct was such that this would not address public interest concerns. The Panel discounted a Caution Order for the same reasons. Furthermore, the Registrant has not been practising for at least the past 2 years and a Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate.

29. The Panel has therefore concluded that the appropriate sanction is to extend the current Suspension Order for a further period of 12 months. This will give the Registrant a further opportunity to provide the information previously suggested and to demonstrate that her fitness to practise is no longer impaired.

30. It would be open to the Registrant to seek an early review of this order if there were a change in circumstances, for example providing the information suggested, which could indicate that her fitness to practise is no longer impaired.

31. A future panel would be assisted by the Registrant’s attendance at the hearing, information about her plans for returning to registered practise and the following:

• A reflective piece from her in regard to the findings of the original panel;

• References and testimonials from past employers and any work undertaken recently;

• Evidence that she is maintaining her professional knowledge.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mrs Kelly Weir for a further period of 12 months.

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply from 22 August 2021.


This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 21 August 2022.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mrs Kelly Weir

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
26/07/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Hearing has not yet been held
13/07/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
14/07/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
24/07/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended