Mr John Wooliscroft
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By Reason of your physical and/ or mental health, your fitness to practise as a Paramedic is impaired as set out in Schedule A.
b) [Not proven]
c) [Not proven]
Service of Notice
1. The notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s email address as it appeared on the register on 5 July 2022. The notice contained the date, time and modus of today’s hearing.
2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, and is satisfied that notice of today’s hearing had been served in accordance with Rule 6(1) of the Health Committee Rules 2003 (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 Sampson on behalf of the HCPC.
4. Ms Sampson submitted that the HCPTS had taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant. She further submitted that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC, nor with the HCPTS, and that an adjournment would serve no useful purpose. She further pointed out that the Registrant has not engaged with these proceedings. Ms Sampson 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. He advised that, if the Panel is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to notify the Registrant of the hearing, then the Panel had the discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.
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 should be aware of the hearing.
9. In deciding whether to exercise its discretion to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel took into consideration the HCPTS practice note entitled ‘Proceeding in the Absence of a Registrant’. The Panel weighed its responsibility for public protection and the expeditious disposal of the case with the Registrant’s right to a fair hearing.
10. In reaching its decision the Panel took into account the Registrant did not attend the previous hearings nor has he engaged with these proceedings and that there is a public interest that this substantive order is reviewed before it expires.
11. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was absent voluntarily. In the light of the non-engagement by the Registrant the Panel determined that it was unlikely that an adjournment would result in the Registrant’s attendance at a later date. 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
12. Ms Sampson submitted that matters relate to the Registrant’s health and that it was appropriate that the entire hearing be held in private as the Registrant’s health was intrinsically linked to the issues in this case. 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 from the crux of the HCPC’s case.
The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr John Wooliscroft for a further period of three months upon the expiry of the existing order.
The order imposed today will apply from 7 September 2022
This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 7 December 2022