Timothy G Weekes

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA34806

Hearing Type: Consent Order Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 16/07/2021 End: 17:00 16/07/2021

Location: virtually via videoconference

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

As a registered Paramedic (PA34806) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct. In that:

1. On 15 June 2019, whilst working for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance you administered a drug to Service User A that was not clinically indicated.

2. On 15 June 2019 you undertook an ultrasound on Service User A.

3. In respect of allegation 2 you have worked beyond your scope of practise.

4. On or around 19 March 2019 you defaced your colleague’s identification card, property of South Central Ambulance Service.

5. The matters set out in allegations 1 to 4 constitute misconduct.

6. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired

Finding

Preliminary Matters
Service
1. The Panel was provided with the Notice of Hearing dated 3 June 2021 which was sent to the Registrant’s registered address and copied to the Registrant’s representative.

2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and was satisfied that good service had been effected in accordance with the Rules.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
3. Ms Welsh made an application for the hearing to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She referred to an e-mail from the Registrant’s representative dated 15 July 2021 which stated:

We confirm that we continue to act on behalf of Mr Weekes and that he has the benefit of legal advice in seeking to enter into a consent order with the HCPC. However, we are not instructed to attend tomorrow’s hearing on behalf of Mr Weekes. Please note that no discourtesy to the Panel is intended in this regard. Mr Weekes is self funding his legal representation and this decision has been made in order to limit legal expense. Mr Weekes specifically consents to the hearing proceeding in his absence.”

4. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and decided that in the circumstances it was appropriate to proceed in the absence of Mr Weekes. This is a hearing to consider a possible Consent Order and it is in Mr Weekes interest and the public interest that the hearing takes place as scheduled.

Background
5. The Registrant is a registered Paramedic who was employed by Southampton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust between 10 December 2018 and 7 August 2019 as a HEMS Trainee Paramedic for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Service.

6. On 18 July 2019 the HCPC received a self-referral from the Registrant explaining that during his probation period he had received feedback about concerning behaviours and failing to meet the standard required.

7. The Registrant informed the HCPC that the concerns related to a clinical error whereby he gave atropine to Service User A, who was presenting with a cardiac arrest, when this was not justified. It was noted that no harm came to the patient as a result of the administration of atropine and nor was there any significant risk of harm identified within the HCPC bundle. Further, the Registrant also deployed an ultrasound on Service User A to look for cardiac activity which was outside his scope of practice.

8. The Registrant’s employer also made a referral on 6 August 2019 confirming the same concerns, including a separate incident related to the Registrant defacing a colleague’s identification card.

9. On 30 April 2020 the Investigating Committee found that there was a case to answer against the Registrant in relation to the Allegation.

10. The HCPC instructed Kingsley Napley solicitors to finalise the investigation and prepare the matter for a final hearing. Witness statements were obtained.

11. On 25 February 2021, the Registrant’s representative proposed that the HCPC consider consensual disposal and provided documents including the Registrant’s reflective statement and CPD documents.

12. The HCPC reviewed the case and considered the circumstances suitable for disposal by consent. In an e-mail dated 10 May 2021, the HCPC agreed to dispose of the matter by way of a one-year Caution Order. The Consent Order was signed by the Registrant on 21 June 2021.

Decision
13. Ms Walsh submitted that the matter is suitable for disposal by way of consent. She outlined the background circumstances relating to the Registrant’s action in defacing his colleague’s ID card and submitted that the Panel could reflect those circumstances within its decision. She submitted that the proposed Consent Order secures a sufficient level of public protection and would not be detrimental to the wider public interest.

14. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to relevant Practice Notes and the HCPC Sanctions Policy. She highlighted the evidence in the witness statements that the Registrant’s action in defacing his colleague’s ID card was offensive to his Jewish colleague because the drawing had “turned him into a stereotypical Hassidic Jew”. The Legal Assessor referred the Panel to the definition of harassment in Section 26 of the Equality Act. The context and background circumstances are relevant when considering whether the conduct had the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person concerned.

15. The Registrant has admitted the Allegation and that his fitness to practise is impaired. The Registrant is represented by solicitors and the Panel was satisfied that he understands the consent process and the consequences of the proposed Consent Order.

16. The Panel carefully reviewed all the evidence in the HCPC bundle and was satisfied that in the Allegation the HCPC has appropriately reflected the seriousness of the incident involving the defacing of the ID card in the Allegation. In particular the Panel noted the following evidence:
• Statement of DB Care Group Manager. Ms Burgess describes the culture of the HEMS airbase as jokey, having a “banter culture”, and an environment where practical jokes were common. Other members of staff drew on ID badges.
• Statement of TNR, Trainee Specialist Paramedic. He describes the culture as jokey and practical jokes were common. He confirms that the team drew pictures on each other’s ID cards. He drew an eye patch and beard on the Registrant’s ID card. The Registrant was remorseful for his actions in drawing on his colleague’s ID card.
• Registrant’s reflective statement. The Registrant states that he “absolutely did not intend to cause any offence”. He apologised. He describes the culture at the air-base and described that he thought that by drawing on his colleague’s ID card he “did not intend this to be anything more than just participating in this joke”. The Registrant explained that he is now aware and cautious and takes a different approach. The Registrant explains his actions when he was told that his colleague was offended “I immediately contacted him in order to apologise. I expressed my regret and told him that I did not intend to upset him in any way. I emphasised that I would not repeat this behaviour ever again. I was very pleased that my colleague accepted my apology, we remained friends and continued to have a good working relationship”.

17. The Panel’s view was that the incident was more serious than simply drawing on a colleague’s ID card, which the Panel would not normally expect to be a regulatory concern. However, it did not have the same degree of seriousness as conduct which was intended to cause offence. In the scale of seriousness of such matters, if it were to amount to any form of discrimination, it was at the lowest end of that scale. In the circumstances, the Panel understood the HCPC position that the Allegation is appropriate to reflect the nature and seriousness of the conduct.

18. The Panel considered the evidence relating to the Registrant’s reflection and remedial action. The Registrant has engaged with the HCPC throughout the fitness to practise process. The Panel considered the Registrant’s reflective statement. The Panel considered that the Registrant has demonstrated genuine remorse and has apologised for his behaviour. The Registrant takes responsibility for his past behaviour and does not seek to blame others. The Panel considered that he has demonstrated insight.

19. The Registrant has provided evidence of the CPD he has undertaken and reflective statements relating to the CPD. The CPD included a two day Advanced Life Support course in 2020.

20. The Registrant is employed by the London Ambulance Service. He provided workplace reviews confirming that he is working to a satisfactory standard. There has been no repetition of any of the behaviours that led to the HCPC referral.

21. The Panel was aware that the proposed Caution Order would not impose a restriction on the Registrant’s practice and that it would not directly protect the public against any risk of repetition. Having carefully reviewed the evidence, the Panel was satisfied that there is little prospect that the Registrant would repeat similar misconduct. The Panel took into account the Registrant’s insight, his remedial action, the absence of any repetition in the Registrant’s work with the London Ambulance Service and the salutary effect of the fitness to practise process.

22. The Panel considered that the proposed Consent Order secured the appropriate degree of public protection, given the very low risk of repetition. If, contrary to the Panel’s assessment, there were to be any repetition of misconduct, the Panel’s decision records the circumstances relating to the Allegation.

23. The Panel next considered the wider public interest, including the need to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process. The Panel has already addressed issues surrounding the incident where the Registrant defaced his colleague’s ID card. The other matters relate to a single clinical incident, where the Registrant administered a drug that was inappropriate and stepped outside the scope of his practice. The Panel considered that a one year Caution Order when considered together with this decision was sufficient to mark the Registrant’s departure from the required standards. A Caution Order is a significant sanction which forms part of the Registrant’s record with the HCPC.

24. The Panel also considered that the proposed Consent Order was sufficient to maintain public confidence in the profession and in the HCPC. An informed member of the public would recognise that the Registrant has fully engaged with the HCPC, demonstrated insight and remorse, made appropriate admissions, and taken steps to remediate his misconduct.

25. The approach of resolving matters by consent when it is appropriate to do so is in the public interest.

26. The Panel therefore decided to approve the HCPC proposal that this matter should be disposed of by way of a consent order.

Order

The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register entry of Mr Timothy G Weekes with a caution which is to remain on the Register for a period of 12 months with immediate effect.

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.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Timothy G Weekes

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
16/07/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Consent Order Hearing Caution