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Whilst registered with HCPC as a Dietician:
1. On a date between 5 April 2013 and 30 May 2013, following a complaint received from a Senior Sister to dietetic care you had provided to patient A, you:
- Made retrospective amendments to Patient A's record card, and you:
- Did not sign the amendments, and/or
- Did not date the amendments
Decision of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal, sitting as the Conduct and Competence Committee of the Health and Care Professions Council.
This is a hearing of an application by the Applicant for restoration to the Health and Care Professions (HCPC) register.
Application to hear the matter in private
- At the outset of the Restoration Hearing, Ms Khorassani, with the agreement of the Applicant applied for the hearing to be conducted in private because consideration of the application would involve hearing evidence and discussion of the Registrant’s health.
- The Applicant submitted that the whole of the hearing should be heard in private because the evidence relating to her health was inextricably linked to the findings of misconduct in this case.
- The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Conducting Hearings in Private” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, which it followed in the decision set out below.
- The Panel had regard to Rule 10(1)(a) of the Health and Care Professions Council (Health Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003, which provides that “proceedings shall be held in public unless the Committee is satisfied that, in the interests of justice or for the protection of the private life of the registrant, the complainant, any person giving evidence or of any patient or client, the public should be excluded from all or part of the hearing.”
- The Panel decided to hear in private those parts of the submissions and the evidence that relate to the Applicant’s health and all of the Applicant’s evidence. The Panel was satisfied that it would be impracticable for the Registrant to give her evidence in a way that separated the evidence of health and misconduct. The Panel was satisfied that maintaining the confidentiality of the evidence relating to health was necessary for the protection of the private life of the Applicant.
6. The Applicant (then a Registrant) was employed as a Band 5 Dietitian by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust from 28 April 2010. She was in a rotational training post in March 2013 when concerns were raised by a patient’s family in respect of the dietetic care provided by her to a patient (Patient A), relating to poor dietary intake and contact with the patient’s family.
7. During an investigation into those concerns, evidence emerged that the Registrant had altered the patient’s record card, after the concerns had been raised.
8. At a hearing on 10 and 11 December 2014 a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee (the 2014 Panel) found the following allegations were proved against the Applicant:
During the course of your employment as a Dietitian with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, you:
1.On a date between 5 April 2013 and 30 May 2013, following a complaint received from a Senior Sister in relation to dietetic care you had provided to patient A, you:
a. Made retrospective amendments to Patient A's record card, and you:
i. Did not sign the amendments, and/or
ii. Did not date the amendments
2. The actions described in paragraph 1 a i - ii are dishonest.
3. The matters set out in paragraph(s) 1 and 2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.
4. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired
9. The 2014 Panel found that the Applicant had “amended the records by adding further information, to suggest there had been more discussion and intervention concerning the patient” than had occurred and that she had done this, on a “large scale”, several weeks after the complaint had been made, in order “to improve her position after the she was aware of the complaint made by the family of (the) Patient” The 2014 Panel found that this conduct was dishonest.
10. The 2014 Panel found that the Applicant’s fitness to practise was impaired and that she had limited insight demonstrated by her denial of dishonesty and the absence of any remediation. The 2014 Panel suspended her from practice for 9 months.
11. The Applicant’s suspension was reviewed on 7 August 2015 and the reviewing panel suspended the Applicant from practice for another period of 12 months. That panel accepted that the Registrant had faced significant health difficulties which had impeded her engaging in remediation.
12. On 12 February 2016, a second reviewing panel approved a Voluntary Removal Agreement in which the Applicant consented to her removal from the Register. When imposing a striking off order the panel observed: “The Panel considered that the matters found proved at the Final Fitness to Practice hearing were serious. These gave rise to concerns in relation to the safety of patients, and to the wider public interest, including maintaining confidence in the profession and the regulatory process, and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour.”
13. The Applicant first applied for restoration in 2018. Having been advised that her application was premature, she withdrew that application and applied for restoration to the register pursuant to a written application dated 28 April 2022 and emailed to the HCPC 2 May 2022.
The Restoration Hearing
Written evidence before the Panel
14. Prior to the hearing, the Panel had received a bundle of documents from the HCPC that included documents provided by the Applicant relating to courses she had undertaken and her reflections upon the circumstances of her removal from the Register.
15. The bundle of documents contained the following material
a. A reflective piece in which the Applicant set out each of the professional standards she had breached and the steps she had taken to ensure that she would not repeat the breaches;
b. An account of the Registrant’s employment history, first as a Client Experience Agent in 2017 and subsequently as a Client Account Manager since 2019;
c. Evidence of working on a number of written projects relating to conditions relevant to the work of a dietitian;
d. Documentary evidence of study and relevant CPD since 2018;
e. Further reflections on how that condition had affected her ability to work effectively in the past and how she had learned to manage her condition.
16. On the morning of the hearing, the Panel received a number of medical reports.
Submissions and oral evidence before the Panel
17. Ms Khorassani outlined the background to the case and the decisions of the previous panels of the Conduct and Competence Committee.
18. The Panel then heard oral evidence on affirmation from the Applicant.
19. The Applicant told the Panel that she recognised that her actions in altering Patient A’s records were dishonest, although she had not been able to see this at the time. She told the Panel that she was upset by her actions and demonstrated her understanding of how they affected the trust of the team with whom she worked, the trust of the patient and the reputation of the hospital where she worked.
20. The Applicant admitted to the Panel that she had acted out of fear for her own position and at the time had shown neither remorse nor insight because she was not thinking clearly. She told the Panel that she now fully understood the importance of keeping honest records, regardless of any consequences for herself, and she gave a specific example of how she had acted during her employment. She had inputted a client’s card details incorrectly and she had telephoned her manager to highlight the mistake, so that it could be corrected. She told the Panel that colleagues had said they were surprised someone would own up to such a mistake but she had done so because she now understood that “the client comes first”.
21. She told the Panel that her condition was now controlled.
22. She invited the Panel to accept that she would not act dishonestly in the future and wished to return to the work that she loved so that she could help clients and demonstrate that she had put the misconduct behind her.
23. Ms Khorassani, reminded the panel that it was for the Applicant to establish that she was fit to return to practice. She invited the Panel to consider what has changed since the Applicant was struck off and to consider her efforts towards remediation. On behalf of the HCPC, she did not oppose the application for restoration.
24. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the legal assessor which it has followed in its decision.
The Panel’s approach
25. The Panel had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on Restoration to the Register dated November 2017. It reminded itself that it “must not grant an application for restoration unless it is satisfied, on such evidence as it may require, that the applicant:
• meets the general requirements for registration; and
• is a fit and proper person to practise the relevant profession, having regard to the particular circumstances that led to striking off.”
26. It bore in mind that the burden or establishing that the Applicant is a fit and proper person to practise, rests on the Applicant.
27. It reminded itself that the issues which a Panel should consider include:
• the matters which led to striking off and the reasons given by the original 2014 Panel for imposing that sanction;
• whether the applicant accepts and has insight into those matters;
• whether the applicant has resolved those matters, has the willingness and ability to do so, or whether they are capable of being resolved by the applicant;
• what other remedial or rehabilitative steps the applicant has taken;
• what steps the applicant has taken to keep his or her professional knowledge and skills up to date.
28. It had regard to the guidance given to panels by the Court of Appeal in General Medical Council v Chandra  EWCA Civ 1898 and reminded itself that, when it had considered the matters set out above, it should “step back” and ask whether restoration met the overarching objective of protecting the public, which includes the active pursuit of the following objectives:
• protecting service users;
• declaring and upholding proper standards of behaviour; and
• maintaining public confidence in the profession concerned.
The Panel’s Decision
29. The Panel accepted the Applicant’s evidence, which was consistent with and supported by the written documentation she had submitted to the Panel.
30. The Panel found that the Applicant had reflected properly upon her misconduct and accepted her responsibility for it. It accepted that she had taken steps to ensure that there was no repetition of her misconduct and had demonstrated that, 10 years after her misconduct, she would act openly and honestly regardless of consequences for herself.
31. The Panel found that the Applicant had taken appropriate steps, including working without incident over a number of years and contributing to projects related to her profession. The Panel accepted that she had also learnt to manage her workload in a way that made it unlikely she would resort to dishonesty in the future.
32. The Panel examined the evidence of CPD and learning which the Applicant had put before it and was satisfied that it appeared in light of positive submissions made by the HCPC she had successfully completed a 60 day period of professional updating in accordance with the HCPC standards for return to practice.
33. The Panel then considered whether, in light of these findings, the Applicant was a fit person to return to practise and in particular whether she could practise safely, without being so overwhelmed that she was tempted to behave dishonestly in the future.
34. The Panel was satisfied that the Applicant had resolved to behave honestly but was concerned that the return to work might present her with challenges which she would only be able to meet if properly supervised for a period after her return to work.
35. The Panel then considered whether restoration met the overarching objective of protecting the public, including the wider public interest. In particular, it considered whether restoration would promote and maintain public confidence in the profession and uphold proper standards of conduct.
36. The Panel was satisfied that it would because of the significant passage of time since the Applicant’s misconduct and the evidence that the Applicant had used the time to ensure that she would practise safely and honestly in future. The Panel agreed with the finding of the 2014 panel that the Applicant’s misconduct was not so serious that the wider public interest required that she never be able to return to practice.
37. Therefore, the Panel allowed the application for restoration subject to the Applicant complying with the conditions of practice order set out below.
38. For the avoidance of doubt, the Panel records that the conditions of practice order will be reviewed shortly before its expiry and observes that a reviewing panel is likely to be assisted by:
a) The attendance of the Registrant;
b) A report from the Registrant’s workplace supervisor dealing with how the Registrant has managed her workload and maintained accurate records.
c) Testimonials dealing with the Registrant’s performance at work or in any other relevant role;
d) Any other material that the Registrant relies upon to demonstrate that she is ready to return to unrestricted practice.
RESTORED WITH CONDITIONS
The Registrar is directed to restore the name of Kavita Bargota (the Applicant) to the Dietician Part of the Register, but restoration is only to take effect once the Applicant has:
(a) provided the Registrar with the information and declarations required for admission to the Register; and
(b) paid the prescribed restoration fee.
The Registrar is further directed to annotate the Register to show that, for a period of 9 months from the date that this Order takes effect (the Operative Date), the Applicant must comply with the following conditions of practice:
1. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered by the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of starting any role that requires registration with the HCPC. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and recommendations.
2. For the first 2 months after you commence any role that requires registration with the HCPC you must meet with your supervisor every week.
3. Thereafter you may, if your supervisor agrees, meet each month.
4. You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer.
5. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:
a. any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work requiring registration with the HCPC;
b. any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application) with a view to taking a role requiring registration with the HCPC;
c. any prospective employer for a role requiring registration with the HCPC; (at the time of your application).
No notes available
History of Hearings for Kavita Bargota
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|06/06/2022||Conduct and Competence Committee||Restored with Conditions of Practice|