Miss Elizabeth J Hodges
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By reason of your mental health, your fitness to practise as a Radiographer is impaired.
Service of Notice
1. The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant by email as it appeared on the register on 23 September 2021. The notice contained the date, time and venue of today’s hearing.
2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, and is satisfied that notice of today’s hearing has been served in accordance with Rule 6(1) of the Health Committee Rules 2002 (the “Rules”).
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant
3. 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 Ms Welsh on behalf of the HCPC.
4. Ms Welsh submitted that the HCPTS has taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant. She further submitted that the Registrant has had limited engagement with the HCPC and the HCPTS, and that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. When the HCPC contacted the Registrant on 19 October 2021 by telephone, the Registrant told her that she did not intend to attend this hearing and that no disrespect was intended by her absence. Ms Welsh reminded the Panel that there was a public interest in this matter being dealt with expeditiously.
5. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
6. The Legal Assessor also referred the Panel to the case of GMC v Adeogba and Visvardis  EWCA Civ 162 and advised the Panel that the Adeogba case reminded the Panel that its primary objective is the protection of the public and of 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”.
7. It was clear, from the principles derived from case law, that the Panel was required to ensure that fairness and justice were maintained when deciding whether or not to proceed in a Registrant’s absence.
8. The Panel was satisfied that all reasonable efforts had been made by the HCPTS to notify the Registrant of the hearing. It was also satisfied that the Registrant was aware of the hearing.
9. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was absent voluntarily. In the absence of further information from the Registrant, the Panel determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance before the expiry of the substantive order in three weeks. She has not sought an adjournment and implicit in her telephone conversation with the HCPC is an expectation that the hearing proceeds in her absence. Furthermore, the substantive order must be reviewed before it expires on 17 November 2021.
10. Having weighed the public interest for expedition in cases against the Registrant’s own interest, the Panel decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. Proceeding in private
11. Ms Welsh submitted that it was appropriate that the entire hearing be held in private as the Registrant’s health intrinsically linked to the issues in this case.
12. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and it noted Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Health Committee) Procedure Rules 2003 (“Procedural 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. The Panel agreed the entire hearing should be in private as the Registrant’s health issues form a major part of the HCPC’s case at this stage.
Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Miss Elizabeth Hodges for a further period of 12 months upon the expiry of the existing order.
The order imposed on 22 October 2021 will come into effect on 17 November 2021.
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 17 November 2022.