Maureen Bennie

Profession: Biomedical scientist

Registration Number: BS40800

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 13/09/2021 End: 17:00 15/09/2021

Location: Virtual via Video Conference

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

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Allegation

The allegation against you is as follows:

As a registered Biomedical Scientist (BS40800) your fitness to practise is
impaired by reason of misconduct in that:

  • 1. Between 19th October and 28th December 2017, at John Lewis,
    Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow, you obtained goods and money to which you were not entitled totalling a value of £1660 from John Lewis.

 

  • 2. Your conduct in relation to allegation 1 above was dishonest.

 

  • 3. The matters set out in allegations 1 and 2 above constitute misconduct.

 

  • 4. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters
Application to Amend the Allegation

1. In the notice of allegations sent to the Registrant on the 26 October 2020 it was outlined that amendments to the allegations would be sought on the first day of the hearing The amendment sought was to change the wording of Particular 1 to remove the reference to a fraudulent scheme. It was proposed that the wording of the charge was changed to read “Between 19 October and 28 December 2017, at John Lewis Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow, you obtained goods and money to which you were not entitled totalling a value of £1660 from John Lewis.”

2. Mr Lloyd, on behalf of the HCPC applied to amend the particulars of the allegation as set out above and submitted that they served to clarify the allegation and better reflected the evidence. He submitted that the proposed amendments did not substantially alter the nature of the case against the Registrant.

3. Ms McPhee on behalf of the Registrant did not oppose this application. In addition, she confirmed that they had been notified of the proposed amendments in good time.

4. The Panel was mindful of the issues of fairness and the avoidance of prejudice. The Panel considered that it was fair to allow the application to amend the particulars of the allegation as they did not fundamentally alter the case against the Registrant and better reflected the evidence. There was no prejudice to the Registrant and the Panel considered the amendments could be made without injustice.

Application for part of the hearing to be held in private.

5. At the outset of the hearing Ms McPhee requested that the whole hearing should be in private on the basis that it would interrupt the flow of evidence and that members of the public would not observe anything meaningful. In the alternative she submitted that any matters relating to the Registrant’s health or private and family life should be heard in private. She submitted that all matters after the HCPC’s opening should be in private. Mr Lloyd did not oppose the application.

6. The Panel took account of the principles set out in the HCPTS Practice Note, Conducting Hearings in Private. The Panel also had regard to the need for transparency in the regulatory process. The Panel determined that those parts of the hearing that concern the Registrant’s health and personal life should be conducted in private for the protection of her private life. The Panel considered that all matters after the HCPC opening were likely to involve those matters. The Panel therefore granted the application under Rule 10 1 (a) for part of the hearing to be in private.

Background

7. The Registrant is employed as a Biomedical Scientist in the Haematology Department by Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS.

8. On 15 July 2019 the Registrant made a self-referral to the HCPC and disclosed that she had been charged with an offence of fraud. In early 2018 the Registrant was contacted by the Police, following a report of fraud by an employee of John Lewis. It was alleged that during the period between 19 October 2017 and 28 December 2018 the Registrant had engaged in ticket swapping and refund fraud and that she had made financial gains of £1660 to the detriment of John Lewis.

9. The Registrant entered a guilty plea to the criminal charges. In August 2019 the Glasgow Sheriff Court granted the Registrant an absolute discharge. No penalty was imposed, and no conviction was recorded. The Sheriff took the view that there were exceptional circumstances which justified this course of action, which included the Registrant’s previous good character, repayment of the money to John Lewis, and that there was a significant health background to the offence.

10. The Registrant was also the subject of a disciplinary investigation by her employers who considered that the matters were related to the Registrant’s ill health at the relevant time. No further action was taken following the outcome at the Glasgow Sheriff Court, and the Registrant’s employer sought to support her through a referral to Occupational Health. The Registrant has continued to work in her post.

11. At the outset of the hearing the Registrant admitted the factual element of the particulars. The Registrant did admit that she had been dishonest and that her conduct amounted to misconduct. The Registrant did not accept that her fitness to practise was currently impaired.

Decision on Facts

12. On behalf of the HCPC the Panel heard no live evidence. On behalf of the Registrant the Panel heard directly from the Registrant and from Mrs Cartwright who is the Registrant’s manager at the Trust and had initially dealt with the Registrant’s disclosure of the criminal charges. The Panel was provided with a bundle of documents comprising of an investigation undertaken by John Lewis together with further documents relating to the criminal proceedings. The Panel was also provided with an additional bundle of documents consisting of medical evidence and references and a reflective account from the Registrant.

13. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. In respect of the facts, the Panel understood that the burden of proving each individual fact is on the HCPC notwithstanding the admissions of the Registrant. The HCPC will only be able to prove a particular fact if it satisfies the required standard of proof: namely the civil standard, whereby it is more likely than not that the alleged incident occurred. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor in relation to the test for dishonesty as outlined in the case of Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd [2017] UKSC67 and took into account the Practice Note “Making decisions on a registrant’s state of mind”.

Particular 1 Found Proved

1. Between 19 October and 28 December 2017 at John Lewis Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow you obtained goods and money to which you were not entitled totalling a value of £1660 from John Lewis.

14. The Panel considered the evidence. It considered the evidence contained within the John Lewis investigation to be conclusive and compelling and demonstrated that the Registrant had engaged in ticket swapping and refund fraud.

15. It was not disputed by the Registrant that she had engaged in this behaviour. The Registrant explained that the amount she had repaid to John Lewis was less than the £1660 as specified in the allegation because this was a settlement reached on her behalf with John Lewis by her solicitor in the criminal proceedings. The Registrant did not dispute in her evidence that she had obtained refunds for more money than she had paid for items and that she had swapped the tickets on lower priced items with higher priced items.

16. The Panel was satisfied on the basis of the admissions made by the Registrant and the evidence contained within the bundle that the Registrant had obtained goods and a monetary benefit from John Lewis that she was not entitled to.

Particular 2 - Found Proved

2.Your conduct in relation to allegation 1 above was dishonest.

17. The Registrant accepted that the conduct was dishonest.

18. The Registrant could not recall the details of some of the items she had purchased and explained that she had a limited recollection of the events.

19. The Panel also accepted that the Registrant is a competent and committed Biomedical Scientist who is well respected, and this conduct took place wholly outside the Registrant’s workplace. The evidence from Mrs Cartwright was that the Registrant’s professionalism was beyond reproach until this matter.

20. In considering the Registrant’s state of mind at the time of the conduct the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant appreciated it was dishonest. The Panel considered that in the instances of “ticket swapping” for the artwork and white blouse the CCTV images in the John Lewis report demonstrated there was an element of subterfuge. The Registrant entered the changing room or hid herself from view whilst carrying out the ticket swapping. The Panel considered that this behaviour suggested that the Registrant was aware that what she was doing was dishonest and was seeking to hide her actions.

21. The Panel did not accept that the refund fraud came as a result of a muddled attempt to return items that were no longer wanted or used. The Panel noted that in the case of the watch the Registrant’s explanation lacked credibility. The Registrant explained that she had purchased a watch online on the 18 December 2018 for her daughter for Christmas. The watch was silver and cost £82. The Registrant explained that her daughter had wanted the same watch in gold and so on 27 December 2018 the Registrant ordered the gold watch online at a cost of £41 as it had been reduced in the sale.

22. The Registrant then returned the gold watch to the store in the silver watch box and sought a refund. The Registrant was initially refunded £41 as it appears that the cashier scanned the watch inside. The Registrant then claimed that the incorrect product had been scanned and she was provided with a goodwill refund of £41. When the box was recovered the gold watch was inside. The Panel considered that the Registrant’s explanation that her daughter had wanted the gold watch made no sense in the light of her subsequent actions in returning the gold watch and it was clear that the Registrant had returned the watch in the higher priced packaging to obtain a benefit which she knew she was not entitled to.

23. The Panel considered that the Registrant had used a number of different methods to obtain a monetary benefit, and these did not accord with her explanation that the behaviour was motivated solely to return unwanted things and buy replacements.

24. In relation to the first limb of the test set out in the case of Ivey the Panel was satisfied for the reasons set out above that the Registrant was aware that her conduct was dishonest.

25. The Panel concluded that in relation to the second limb there was no doubt that the Registrant’s conduct in obtaining refunds for more than she had paid or swapping tickets to obtain higher priced items for less would be considered dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people.

Decision on Grounds

26. The Panel then considered whether the facts found proved amounted to misconduct. Misconduct must be serious. The Panel noted that the Registrant accepted that her conduct amounted to misconduct. Nevertheless, the Panel has exercised its own judgement. The Panel has made findings in relation to the Registrant engaging in multiple dishonest acts to obtain a monetary benefit over a number of months.

27. The Registrant’s dishonesty was not limited to returning items that had been used that she no longer had the receipts or tags for. The Registrant had swapped higher price tickets to lower price tickets on items in order to pay less for them. In addition, the Registrant had returned items for refunds and sought to obtain more than she had paid. In engaging in this dishonest and criminal behaviour, the Panel considered that the Registrant’s conduct fell far short of the standards expected of a registered professional.

28. The Panel notes the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics January 2016 and in particular Standard 9.1 “You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.”

29. The Panel considered that the reputation of Biomedical Scientists was damaged by the Registrant’s conduct. The Panel considered that members of the profession and the public would be shocked to learn of the Registrant’s actions.

Decision on Impairment

30. The Panel went on to consider the issue of impairment by reason of the Registrant's misconduct. It had careful regard to all the evidence before it and to the submissions of Mr Lloyd for the HCPC and those made on behalf the Registrant. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had particular regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on “Fitness to Practise Impairment”.

31. Mr Lloyd for the HCPC submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practice was impaired both on public protection and public interest grounds. Mr Lloyd submitted that in considering whether the misconduct had been remedied and was unlikely to be repeated the Panel should consider the degree of insight and remediation shown by the Registrant. Mr Lloyd submitted that the Registrant’s oral evidence lacked credibility, demonstrated limited insight into her behaviour and sought to minimise the seriousness of her conduct. Mr Lloyd submitted that the Registrant had not been open with the Panel about the full extent of her responsibility and as such there was a risk of repetition. Further, he submitted that the need to uphold proper professional standards would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in this case.

32. On behalf of the Registrant Ms McPhee submitted that a finding of impairment was not required in this case. Ms McPhee drew the Panel’s attention to the full admissions given by the Registrant in the criminal proceedings, to her employer and to the HCPC. She submitted that the Registrant had put in place strategies to cope and there had been no repeat of the conduct. Ms McPhee submitted that the Registrant was of exemplary character until this episode and was well thought of at work. Ms McPhee urged the Panel to consider the Registrant’s reflections and remorse and to put the behaviour into its proper context as an episode when the Registrant was not “herself”.

33. Ms McPhee submitted that a finding of impairment was not required on public interest grounds as the public interest had been served by the criminal proceedings and the scrutiny of the HCPC investigation. In particular Ms McPhee referred to the case of PSA v Uppal [2015] EWHC 1304 in which Mrs Justice Lang stated, “…not every act of dishonesty results in impairment.” The approach that the Panel should take in that case was confirmed to be a separate assessment of current fitness to practise having regard to the conduct since the misconduct occurred as well as the nature and extent of the misconduct. In that case Mrs Justice Lang decided that the Panel had been correct to conclude that based on the exceptional features of the case including the doctor’s relatively junior status and extensive remediation together with the low risk of repetition that her fitness to practise was not impaired. Further Mrs Justice Lang stated that professional standards had been upheld and public confidence in the profession maintained as a result of the finding of misconduct and the rigorous disciplinary process.

34. The Panel first considered past impairment. It noted its findings that the Registrant had deliberately and dishonestly obtained goods and money to which she was not entitled from John Lewis over a number of months. It had also found that the Registrant’s misconduct had breached key standards of the HCPC’s “Standards of conduct, performance and ethics” as set out above, had brought the profession into disrepute and had undermined confidence in the profession.

35. The Panel went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of that misconduct. In addressing the personal component of impairment, the Panel asked itself whether the Registrant is liable, now and in the future, to repeat misconduct of the kind found proved. In reaching its decision, the Panel had particular regard to the issues of insight and remediation.

36. The Panel noted that in the case of CHRE v NMC & Grant [2011] EWHC 927 (Admin) Mrs Justice Cox stated: “When considering whether or not fitness to practise is currently impaired, the level of insight shown by the practitioner is central to a proper determination of that issue.”

37. The Registrant has submitted documents including a reflection and relevant medical reports and references. The panel has heard oral evidence from the Registrant and from the Registrant’s senior manager Mrs Cartwright. The Registrant has expressed within the documents and in her evidence an apology and has explained that she feels shame, embarrassment and remorse.

38. The Panel had careful regard to Silber J’s guidance in Cohen v GMC [2008] EWHC 581 (Admin) that Panels should take account of:

• Whether the conduct which led to the charge is easily remediable;
• Whether it has been remedied; and
• Whether it is highly unlikely to be repeated.

39. The Panel recognised that remediation of misconduct which involves dishonesty may be less easy than remediation of misconduct involving clinical failings. The Panel had regard to the context of the dishonesty and the fact that the Registrant stated that it occurred at a time when she was unwell.

40. The Panel accepted the oral evidence of Mrs Cartwright and the written references in the bundle that the Registrant is a ‘committed and diligent member of staff’. It considered that with the development of meaningful insight, dishonesty of this kind is remediable. It noted the Registrant’s assurances that she has learned from this experience and her reflection as to the reasons why it arose. The Panel considered that the Registrant’s judgement may have been clouded by some of the difficult personal circumstances. The Registrant had taken some limited steps to appreciate the effect of these circumstances by accessing counselling.

41. The Panel also noted that the Registrant has continued to work as a Biomedical Scientist since the incidents in question, and that there has been no repetition although the Panel noted that the Registrant is prohibited from shopping in any John Lewis store either in person or online.

42. The Panel considered that the Registrant had not fully developed her insight into the reasons for her conduct.

43. The Panel considered that the Registrant had only limited insight into the harm that she had done. In her evidence, she minimised the seriousness of her actions and their impact on John Lewis by saying that ‘any money that got spent stayed in John Lewis’. This demonstrated to the Panel that she still struggled to recognise that her actions were dishonest and that John Lewis had suffered loss as a consequence.

44. The Psychiatrist Dr Bett who prepared a report for the criminal proceedings stated in her report dated July 2019 that she was making a “semi-urgent” referral for the Registrant to access psychiatric support, but the Registrant stated that she did not follow this up with her G.P at the time. Dr Bett stated, “It is my opinion that she requires to be referred to a psychiatrist for proper assessment and treatment of her mood disorder and in the first instance she needs her medication doubled. It is also my opinion that she will require a higher level of psychological input than simple counselling although that may be beneficial as a start.” Other than some counselling sessions and a review of her medication which was increased and subsequently decreased the Registrant does not appear to have required or accessed any further intervention. The Panel did not consider that the Registrant had engaged with her difficulties.

45. The Panel noted that, when she was asked difficult questions, the Registrant was unwilling to look at the bundle or provide explanations about her thought process at the time of the events covered by the allegation. The Registrant stated she had “compartmentalised” those thoughts and did not want to re-visit the trauma. In the Panel’s view, this has prevented the Registrant from taking full responsibility for the nature and extent of her dishonesty. The Panel considered that the Registrant was unwilling to accept anything other than her explanation that this was done in an attempt to buy and return things for her children. When confronted with evidence that pointed to a different conclusion (such as an attempt to profit) the Registrant was unable to recall matters or sought to explain it in a way that fitted her view even where that was not credible nor supported by the evidence.

46. The Panel considered that the Registrant had not been open and honest either with herself or the Panel about the nature and extent of the dishonesty. The Panel noted that the evidence from Mrs Cartwright was that she had never discussed the detail of what the Registrant had done, and she had only seen the limited information provided by the Court. The Panel considered that this necessarily impacted on her evidence that she did not consider that the Registrant was a risk. The Panel also noted that Mrs Cartwright did not accept in her oral evidence that she had told the Registrant not to report the matter to the HCPC until the outcome of the criminal proceedings was known in case information was published on the website. The Registrant had stated this in the disciplinary investigation undertaken by her employer. Mrs Cartwright stated that she had advised the Registrant to tell the HCPC as soon as possible.

47. The Panel considered that this evidence further supported the conclusion that the Registrant did not have full insight into her misconduct. The Panel considered that the Registrant wanted to minimise her responsibility and was unwilling to be open about the details and extent of the misconduct.

48. In light of its findings in relation to insight and remediation, the Panel considered that there remained a risk that the Registrant would repeat matters of the kind found proved. For these reasons, the Panel determined that a finding of impairment is required.

49. The Panel then went on to consider whether a finding of impairment is necessary on public interest grounds. In addressing this component of impairment, the Panel had careful regard to the critically important public issues identified by Silber J in the case of Cohen when he said:
“Any approach to the issue of whether .... fitness to practise should be regarded as ‘impaired’ must take account of…the collective need to maintain confidence in the profession as well as declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour.”

50. The Panel considered that honesty and integrity is a cornerstone of the profession, and the public rightly expects professionals to act with honesty. The Panel considered that the public would be concerned to learn of the Registrant’s conduct in this matter. Further, the Panel had no doubt that the need to maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulator, and to declare and uphold proper standards, would be undermined if a finding of impairment of fitness to practise was not made in the circumstances of this case. The Panel did not consider that a finding of misconduct alone would be sufficient. The Panel considered that this was not an isolated act in exceptional circumstances.

51. For all the reasons set out above, the Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired on public interest grounds.

Decision on Sanction

52. Having determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of her misconduct, the Panel next went on to consider whether it was impaired to a degree which required action to be taken on her registration by way of the imposition of a sanction.

53. The Panel had regard to all of the evidence in the case and the submissions made by Mr Lloyd on behalf of the HCPC and Ms McPhee on behalf of the Registrant. Mr Lloyd stated that the HCPC did not contend for a particular sanction and drew the Panel’s attention to the features he considered were relevant.

54. Ms McPhee set out in her submissions the extensive mitigating factors she stated that were present in this case. Ms McPhee contended that a Caution Order would be the appropriate and proportionate sanction or alternatively, a Conditions of Practice Order which placed the Registrant under scrutiny. Ms McPhee submitted that a Suspension Order or Striking Off Order would be disproportionate, unduly punitive and contrary to the weight of evidence in the case. Further she submitted that the decisions of the Courts and the Registrant’s employer to take no further action were persuasive.

55. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and exercised its independent judgement. The Panel had regard to the Sanctions Policy (the Policy) and considered the sanctions in ascending order of severity. The Panel was aware that the purpose of a sanction is not to be punitive but to protect members of the public and to safeguard the wider public interest, which includes upholding standards within the profession, together with maintaining public confidence in the profession and its regulatory process.

56. The Panel first identified what it considered to be the principal aggravating and mitigating factors in this case.

Aggravating factors:

• The Registrant’s dishonesty persisted over three months and involved a sophisticated process to obtain a financial benefit in a range of different circumstances.
• The Registrant has not taken full responsibility for her actions and the Panel had difficulty accepting the sincerity of her remorse in these circumstances.

Mitigating factors:

• The Registrant has had a lengthy professional career, and there have been no previous regulatory concerns;
• The Registrant admitted the allegations to the police and to this Panel and repaid money to John Lewis.
• The references and evidence provided to the Panel attested positively to the Registrant’s character as a committed and diligent member of staff; and
• The Registrant has engaged with the HCPC, the Courts and her employer in the investigatory and disciplinary process.


57. The Panel noted that there had been no repeat of the conduct. However, when considering all of the evidence adduced in the case and looking particularly at the Registrant’s reflective statement the Panel considered that the Registrant had not fully developed her insight for the Panel to be satisfied that there was a low risk of repetition. The Panel reminded itself of its findings in relation to impairment and in particular the conclusion that the Registrant posed a risk of repeating her behaviour.

58. The Panel considered that the Registrant had not fully taken responsibility for her conduct and, in the Panel’s view, was reluctant to engage fully with the nature and extent of the dishonesty.

59. Although the Panel noted that the Registrant self-referred to the HCPC, there was a lengthy delay before she did so. The Registrant stated that this was because of advice given by Mrs Cartwright. The Panel accepted Mrs Cartwright’s evidence that she advised the Registrant to report the matter to the HCPC straightaway.

60. The Panel took into consideration the limited medical evidence in this case. The Panel accepted that the Registrant had a health condition which may have impacted on her judgement at the relevant time. However, the Panel had not been provided with any independent evidence from the Registrant’s GP, Occupational Health Department or Counsellor that the Registrant had adequately addressed her health issues.

61. The Panel considered the sanctions available, beginning with the least restrictive. The Panel did not consider the options of taking no further action, mediation, or the sanction of a Caution Order to be appropriate or proportionate in the circumstances of this case. In view of the limited insight demonstrated by the Registrant, none of these options would address the consequent risk of repetition which the Panel had previously identified nor would they reflect the seriousness of the case.

62. The Panel next considered the imposition of a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel was satisfied that this case did not raise any workplace concerns which may be appropriately addressed through conditions. The Panel was of the view that it was not possible to formulate workable or practicable conditions which would address the Registrant’s dishonesty. Further, the Panel considered that the case was too serious for a Conditions of Practice Order.

63. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order and concluded that this was the appropriate and proportionate sanction in the circumstances of this case. Although the Panel had found that the Registrant’s insight was limited at this time, it considered that a Suspension Order would provide a further opportunity to the Registrant to reflect on her misconduct and to demonstrate that she had developed an appropriate level of insight. The Panel also considered that such an Order is required to maintain public confidence in the profession and to uphold professional standards.

64. The Panel considered that the length of the Order should be for 12 months. This is with a view to the Registrant demonstrating to the next Panel that she has reflected on her actions and has developed sufficient insight into them. The Panel also considered that public confidence in the profession would be damaged if any lesser period were imposed.

65. The Panel acknowledged that the Policy lists dishonesty as the type of case in which a Striking Off Order may be appropriate. The dishonesty, while serious, was not fundamentally incompatible with remaining in the profession. As the Panel had previously found, the dishonesty could be remediated with the development of insight. In the context of the Registrant’s lengthy career and her skills as a Biomedical Scientist, the Panel was of the view that a Striking Off Order would be unduly punitive. The Panel noted that the Registrant had taken some steps to address her misconduct and had indicated to the Panel that she would be willing to take further steps. In light of this and given that the Panel has found that the Registrant may be able to develop sufficient insight over the course of a Suspension Order, the Panel is of the view that a Striking Off Order would be disproportionate at this time.

66. This Panel does not seek to fetter the discretion of a future reviewing Panel, but it considers that such a Panel may be assisted by any information which evidences a developed level of insight. This might include an appreciation and understanding of the nature and extent of the dishonesty and a fuller appreciation of the reasons behind it. This Panel considers that a future Panel would be further assisted by independent evidence about the progress she has made and steps she has taken to manage her health. This Panel considers that a future Panel may be assisted by the Registrant demonstrating her understanding of the impact her health had on her conduct and how she would avoid any repetition of her dishonesty in the future.

67. The Panel acknowledged that such an Order will have an adverse impact upon the Registrant both personally and professionally. However, the Panel determined that the interests of protecting the public and maintaining public confidence in the profession outweigh the interests of the Registrant.

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Maureen Bennie for a period of 12 months from the date this order comes into effect.

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 13 October 2022.

Notes

Interim Order:

68. The Panel considered the application by the HCPC for an Interim Order to cover the appeal period.

69. The HCPC’s application is made on the 2 statutory grounds as follows:

• it is necessary for the protection of members of the public
• is otherwise in the public interest.

70. Mr Lloyd submitted that the public interest was engaged and an interim order should be made to protect that interest and to protect the public during any appeal period.

71. Ms McPhee submitted that the Registrant had been working without incident and an interim order was not necessary. Ms McPhee submitted that the 28 day period would allow the Registrant to deal with any issues arising from the suspension with her employer.

72. The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest. The Panel considered that to do otherwise would be inconsistent with its earlier findings and would not protect the public against the risk of repetition identified. The Panel noted the impact of the interim order but it considered that it was necessary both to protect the public and the public interest.

Right of Appeal:
You may appeal to the Court of Session against the Panel’s decision and the order it has made against you.
Under Article 29(10) of the Health and Social Work 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.


Interim Order:
The Panel makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest. This order will expire: (if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; (if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order) the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Maureen Bennie

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
13/09/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended