Mr Deepak K Deshmukh

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT06696

Interim Order: Imposed on 14 Feb 2018

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 04/05/2022 End: 17:00 04/05/2022

Location: This hearing is being held remotely via video conference.

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Suspended

Please note that the decision can take up to 5 working days to be uploaded onto the HCPTS website. Please contact one of our Hearings Team Managers via tsteam@hcpts-uk.org or +44 (0)808 164 3084 if you require any further information.

 

Allegation

Whilst registered and employed at Kent and Medway Partnership as an Occupational Therapist, between 25 January 2017 and 10 March 2017:

1. In relation to Colleague 1, you:

a. On or around 25 January 2017:


i. Said ‘Women are well bred in Suffolk’ or words to that effect;
ii. Said her body was ‘well preserved’ given that she had had two children, or words to that effect
iii. Not proved.

b. On or around 31 January 2017, touched and/or held Colleague 1’s hand(s).

c. On or around 16 February 2017, grabbed Colleague 1 by the hips and/or waist.

d. On or shortly after 26 January 2017, asked Colleague 1 to change her Personal Reflection.

e. Not proved.

2. In relation to an appointment with Service User 1 on or around 26 January 2017, you:

a. When discussing the family’s history of depression said ‘oh, you are feeling a bit sorry for yourself’ or words to that effect.

b. When speaking to Service User 1’s son, said ‘people don’t die of dementia’ or words to that effect.

c. Said to Colleague 1 that you felt that Service User 1’s son was ‘after her money’ or words to the effect.

3. In relation to Service User 2, you:

a. Attended an appointment on or around 9 February 2017 and:

i. Did not end the appointment when requested to do so by Service User
ii. Mimicked Service User 2 and/or tapped her on the nose.
iii. Did not adequately manage and/or de-escalate Service User 2’s agitation.

b. Not proved.

4. You did not demonstrate the ability to manage you time effectively, in that
you:

a. On or around 31 January 2017, arrived around one hour late for
Service User 4’s appointment.

b. On or around 2 March 2017, did not attend a Cognitive Stimulation
Therapy group.

c. On or around 10 March 2017:


i. Arrived late for a Placement Supervision with Colleague 1.
ii. Arrived one hour late for a 1:1 Cognitive Stimulation Therapy session.
iii. Arrived one hour and a half late for a Care Programme Approach Review meeting.

5. In relation to Service User 3, you:

a. In regard to the initial assessment that you undertook on 7 February
2017:


i. Did not record the initial assessment in a timely manner as required until on or around 15 March 2017.
ii. Did not satisfactorily complete the recording of the risk assessment.
iii. Did not complete and/or record a risk assessment.

b. Did not attend and/or record attending the follow up visit scheduled for
15 March 2017.

6. In relation to Service User 4, following an initial assessment on 31 January 2017, you did not complete and/or record completing a follow up meeting in accordance with the service user’s progress notes.

7. Not proved.

8. Not proved.

9. The matters set out in paragraphs 1, 7 and 8 amount to misconduct.

10. The matters set out in paragraphs 2 – 6 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.

11. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters 

Service of notice

  1. The Panel has seen an email dated 28 March 2022 which was sent to the Registrant’s registered email address. The Panel has also seen a document which confirms that the email was delivered to the Registrant’s registered email address. That email was also sent to an alternative email address that had been provided by the Registrant but was not delivered. Both emails set out the date of today’s hearing and informed the Registrant that due to the current Covid-19 situation, the hearing will be conducted virtually. The Registrant was invited to attend, and he was informed that he could make any submissions in relation to the review of the Substantive Order.
  2. The Registrant has also acknowledged receipt of the notice of hearing and confirmed in his email (dated 22 April 2022) that the hearing was scheduled for 4 May 2022.
  3. Having seen these documents, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has been served with proper notice of this hearing, in accordance with the Health and Care Professions Council (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules Order of Council 2021 which came into force on 4 March 2021.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant 

  1. Mr D’Alton on behalf of the HCPC submitted that this hearing should proceed in the absence of the Registrant. Mr D’Alton submitted that the Registrant had voluntarily waived his right to attend and that this review, which is mandatory should proceed in his absence. Mr D’Alton referred the Panel to an email from the Registrant addressed to the Hearings Officer and dated 26 April 2022. That email was in the following terms.

“Thank you for your email. I will not be attending the forthcoming review hearing on the 4 May 2022.”

  1. Additionally, Mr D’Alton submitted that the Registrant had raised in his email correspondence dated 22 April 2022 his wish to pursue the option of voluntary removal from the Register. Mr D’Alton submitted that it was the HCPC’s position that it would be seeking an extension to the current suspension order to enable those options to be explored with the Registrant and it was therefore in his interests that the matter proceeded today. Mr D’Alton submitted that the Registrant was aware that this was the HCPC’s position and had not objected.
  2. The Panel has decided to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. Its reasons are as follows;
    • Notice of this hearing has been served in accordance with the rules.
    • The Registrant has not applied for an adjournment.
    • The Registrant’s email is an explicit statement that he will not be attending this review.
    • The Panel noted that the Registrant was keen to pursue the option of voluntary removal and was aware that the HCPC would be seeking an extension to the suspension order at this hearing and did not object.
    • The Panel considered that adjourning the hearing would delay the process of exploring the voluntary removal and serve no useful purpose. There is no reason to think that the Registrant would attend the hearing if it were to be adjourned.
    • The Panel determined that the Registrant has voluntarily waived his right to attend.

Background as taken from the determination of the panel [the substantive panel] that considered this matter at the substantive hearing. 

The Registrant is a registered occupational therapist who joined the Community Mental Health Team for Older Adults at the Kent Medway Trust (KMPT) on 20 October 2016 as a Band 6 occupational therapist. 

As part of his role, the Registrant was required to conduct initial assessments, occupational therapy assessments, and individual and group therapy sessions. As a qualified Band 6 occupational therapist, he was also required to take on the role as practice placement educator. As a placement educator, the Registrant was responsible for supervising and coordinating the occupational therapy student placements, including setting goals for the students and providing general assistance and support throughout their placement. 

Between 23 January 2017 and 10 March 2017, the Registrant supervised a university student, who was on placement at the KMPT and known as Colleague 1 throughout these proceedings, in order to protect her privacy. 

At the end of her placement, Colleague 1 raised concerns about the Registrant with her university placement facilitator. The concerns related to the Registrant’s inappropriate behaviour towards her and towards service users, his poor time management and lack of professionalism. 

In April 2017, ML, the AHP Lead for the Older Adult Care Group at the KMPT, was asked by the Assistant Care Group Director to investigate the concerns raised by Colleague 1. During the course of her investigation, she discovered further concerns relating to the Registrant’s record keeping.

 

The substantive panel’ s decision on the Grounds 

  1. Having found proved those facts as are set out above, the substantive panel considered whether those facts amounted to misconduct and/or lack of competence. It concluded that the facts found proved amounted to misconduct. Its reasons were as follows:

The Panel had regard to the written submissions of the Registrant set out in his emails referred to above and two certificates he supplied which showed that he had attended a workshop on professional boundaries on 21 May 2020 and a 3-hour training course on Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults on 2 July 2019. 

In his email of 3 June 2020, the Registrant told the Panel that he had been working part time as a volunteer driver for Swale Community Volunteer Services (SCVS) but was not currently engaged as a volunteer due to the Covid-19 lockdown. He requested the Panel to take both the certificates and his work into account “as evidence of my Remedial Action and Reflective practice through the Voluntary work with SCVS.” 

He also invited the Panel to take into account his difficulties at work: “-having recently moved from Swale Team in November 2016, I was still covering my additional caseload I was asked to cover OT Staff absence for the Dartford Team. I was having to complete the unfinished work from Dartford while getting used to working in a new team.” 

He drew the Panel’s attention to his health difficulties. 

With regard to the student placement he observed, “in hindsight I should have postponed the Student placement”. He added, “I am aware that my overall performance fell short of that required by Professional Standards.... I would like to say that never in my 45+ years of Occupational Therapy practice have I been disrespectful to Clients or their families, however, in this instance I believe that my comments were taken out of context.... I am very saddened and deeply affected by these allegations, as I must have supervised in excess of 100 Students throughout my career, and also now feel embarrassed to admit that I planned and co conducted two COT accredited Fieldwork Educators courses for 30 Participants from South East and South West Thames Regional Health Authority in 1995 and 1996...As stated in my previous email, I would like to extend my unreserved apologies for my oversight and genuine errors in the context of these allegations. 

The Panel also had regard to the submissions of Mr Millin, who submitted that the matters proved amounted to serious misconduct, notwithstanding the Panel’s findings with regard to dishonesty and sexual motivation. He acknowledged the matters raised by the Registrant but reminded the Panel that they had heard no evidence from him nor had they received any independent medical evidence. He also reminded the Panel that the Registrant’s observations about his workload were directly contradicted by ML, his clinical supervisor. 

He drew the Panel’s attention to the relevant law and professional standards. 

The Panel also heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, which it followed in the decision set out below. 

The Panel then considered whether the matters proved at paragraphs 1 to 6 amounted to misconduct. The Panel reminded itself that misconduct is an ordinary word reflecting behaviour that falls below the standard expected of a registrant in the circumstances in which he was carrying out his duties. 

The Panel had regard to the “HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics” and the “Standards of proficiency for Occupational therapists”. The Panel has set out the provisions to which it had regard in a schedule at the end of this part of the decision. Nevertheless, it can summarise the basic principles or tenets to which it had particular regard. These principles are that a registrant must promote and protect the interests of service users and carers; must communicate appropriately and effectively; must minimise risks to service users; must keep accurate records of their work. It also had at the forefront of its mind the duty of a registrant to ensure that their conduct “justifies the public trust and confidence in them and the profession”. 

The Panel had regard to the Registrant’s observations about his workload. However, the Panel gave them little if any weight because the Registrant’s submissions did not explain how or to what extent he was affected and his generalised observations were contradicted by ML who spoke in her evidence of him having a reduced workload.

It also considered carefully the health issues which he raised. Again, the Panel gave these little, if any, weight because it had no independent evidence and no explanation from the Registrant as to how these matters impacted upon his practice. 

The Panel found that all the facts proved amounted to misconduct. The facts proved under paragraph 1 amount to a serious breach of professional standards and boundaries with regard to Colleague 1. The Panel notes that the Registrant does not appear to have wanted to supervise a student at that time. That does not excuse treating that student in a way that undermines their confidence, restricts their ability to learn properly and makes the whole experience disturbing and worrying. 

The matters proved under paragraphs 2 and 3 represent a breach of the Registrant’s duties to service users and their carers. The matters proved at paragraph 4 reflect a pattern of behaviour which both caused distress to service users and their carers and made it more difficult for other professionals to carry out their duties. The Panel noted in particular the evidence, which it accepted, that, on occasions, the Registrant was late for important appointments without any good reason. It appeared on at least one occasion, as if he were demonstrating the point that he could do as he wished, regardless of the needs of service users and colleagues. Finally, the matters set out at paragraphs 3b, 5 and 6 amount to a breach of the important duty to keep good records. 

The substantive panel’s decision on Impairment 

  1. The substantive panel then went on to consider whether, in the light of those findings the Registrant’s fitness to practice was impaired. The substantive panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of both the personal and the public component. Its reasons as set out in its determination were as follows:

It followed the Legal Assessor’s advice to consider first whether the examples of misconduct, set out above, amounted to serious misconduct so as to be capable of giving rise to a finding of impairment. The Panel decided that all the matters set out above were capable of doing so except the matters proved in relation to the Registrant’s record keeping. This is not because the Panel underestimates the importance of good recordkeeping but because the examples were limited in time and the number of service users to an extent where it would not be right to characterize the Registrant’s misconduct in this area as serious. 

The Panel had regard to the submissions of Mr Millin, who drew the Panel’s attention to the relevant authorities and tests including that set out in NMC v CHRE v NMC and P Grant [2011] EWHC 927 (Admin). 

The Panel also had regard to the written representations of the Registrant which are set out above. 

The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor which it followed on the decision set out below. 

The Panel is aware that impairment is a matter for its own professional judgement.

In reaching its decision the Panel had regard to the conduct of the Registrant, the nature, circumstances and gravity of the misconduct proved and the critically important public policy issues, in particular the need to maintain confidence in the profession as well as declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour for the profession. 

The panel also bore in mind that it was concerned with whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired and focussed on the need to protect the public and the wider public interest in the future  

The Panel bore in mind that a finding of impairment is separate from the finding of misconduct and that a finding of misconduct does not automatically mean that the practitioner’s fitness to practise is impaired. 

The Panel had at the forefront of it mind that over three years have elapsed since the Registrant’s misconduct and there is no evidence that the Registrant has committed similar misconduct either before or since the matters proved. 

On this issue, the Panel noted in particular the observations of Silber J in Cohen v GMC [2008] EWHC 581 (Admin): 

“There must always be situations in which a Panel can properly conclude that the act of misconduct was an isolated error on the part of a medical practitioner and that the chance of it being repeated in the future is so remote that his or her fitness to practice has not been impaired. Indeed the Rules have been drafted on the basis that once the Panel has found misconduct, it has to consider as a separate and discreet exercise whether the practitioner’s fitness to practice has been impaired.” 

The Panel also bore in mind that in deciding whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired, it should follow the approach of Dame Janet Smith endorsed by the High Court in CHRE v NMC and P Grant [2011] EWHC 927 (Admin): 

"Do our findings of fact in respect of the (registrant’s) misconduct, deficient professional performance, adverse health, conviction, caution or determination show that his/her fitness to practise is impaired in the sense that s/he: 

has in the past acted and/or is liable in the future to act so as to put a patient or patients at unwarranted risk of harm; and/or 

has in the past brought and/or is liable in the future to bring the .....profession into disrepute; and/or 

has in the past breached and/or is liable in the future to breach one of the fundamental tenets of the medical profession; and/or 

has in the past acted dishonestly and/or is liable to act dishonestly in the future." 

The Panel also had regard to the passage from the Cohen case above and cited by Cox J which reminds panels that there may need to be a finding of impairment in the public interest, even if the misconduct can be characterised as an isolated incident: 

“Any approach to the issue of whether a doctor's fitness to practise should be regarded as 'impaired' must take account of 'the need to protect the individual patient, and the collective need to maintain confidence [in the] profession as well as declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour of the public in their doctors and that public interest includes amongst other things the protection of patients, maintenance of public confidence in the (profession) [sic]”. 

The Panel also had regard to the direction given to panels by the High Court that they must have regard to all three aspects of the overarching objective, to protect the public, when reaching a decision. 

It also reminded itself that the overarching objective involves acting 

protect, promote and maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of the public.

to maintain public confidence in the profession.

to promote and maintain proper professional standards and conduct for members of that profession." 

The Panel found that the Registrant’s misconduct was capable of remediation. Accordingly, the Panel considered whether there was evidence that the Registrant had developed insight into his misconduct and taken sufficient steps to remediate so that the Panel could have confidence that he would not repeat his misconduct. 

The Panel took into account the general expressions of remorse contained in the Registrant’s email. The Panel found that this remorse, if genuine, may reflect the beginning of a process which would lead to him developing sufficient insight. However, the Panel found that the material before it fell short of demonstrating an understanding of what he had done wrong, why it was wrong and how he should conduct himself in future in a way that could give the Panel confidence that the Registrant had developed insight. 

The Panel also took into account the evidence that the Registrant had attended two courses in 2019. The Panel accepted that this may be the start of a process of remediation. However, there is no material before the Panel from which it can assess what, if anything, the Registrant has learned from the courses. Nor is there any material to reassure the Panel that the Registrant has addressed the underlying issues relating to his attitude to his work, his colleagues and service users, which appear to be at the root of his misconduct. 

For those reasons, the Panel decided that the risk of the Registrant repeating his misconduct remains high. 

Accordingly, the Panel found that the Registrant’s misconduct had put the public, service users and colleagues at unwarranted risk of harm and he was likely to do so in the future. It found that he had breached the fundamental tenets of the profession, set out above, and was likely to do so in the future. He also found that he had brought the profession into disrepute and was likely to do so in the future. 

The Panel also considered the public component of impairment and in particular the Panel’s duty to maintain public confidence in the profession and maintain proper standards of conduct, the Panel is satisfied that a finding of impairment is necessary in order to send a clear message that the profession takes seriously misconduct of the sort proved in this case. 

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. 

The substantive panel’s Decision on Sanction 

  1. Having found the Registrant’s fitness to practise impaired, the substantive panel considered, what, if any sanction it should impose on the Registrant. It determined that a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months was the appropriate and proportionate order for it to make. Its reasons as set out in its determination, included the following observations:

The Panel then considered the sanctions available to it in ascending order of severity 

The Panel considered that to take no action or to impose mediation or caution would not be appropriate given the serious nature of the misconduct found. Such a course would not be sufficiently restrictive to protect the public incline the wider public interest. 

The Panel concluded that it was not possible to draft conditions that would be sufficient to protect the public and also had regard to paragraph 107 of the Sanctions Policy [SP].

“Conditions will only be effective in cases where the registrant is genuinely committed to resolving the concerns raised and the panel is confident they will do so. Therefore, conditions of practice are unlikely to be suitable in cases in which the registrant has failed to engage with the fitness to practise process or where there are serious or persistent failings.” 

The Panel found that the Registrant’s engagement with the regulatory process had been very limited. The Panel had no material before it that could reassure it that the Registrant would comply with a Conditions of Practice Order. Accordingly, the Panel does not impose a Conditions of Practice Order. 

The Panel considered whether a Suspension Order would be sufficient to protect the public in this case. The Panel took into account paragraph 121 of SP which provides;

“A suspension order is likely to be appropriate where there are serious concerns which cannot be reasonably addressed by a conditions of practice order, but which do not require the registrant to be struck off the Register. These types of cases will typically exhibit the following factors: 

the concerns represent a serious breach of the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics; 

the registrant has insight; 

the issues are unlikely to be repeated; and 

there is evidence to suggest the registrant is likely to be able to resolve or remedy their failings. 

The Panel found that not all these factors are well demonstrated in this case. Nevertheless, the Panel found that, because the Registrant had started to attend courses and expressed remorse, there was sufficient material to satisfy it that a substantial period of suspension would be sufficient to protect the public, including the wider public interest, and that there was a realistic prospect that the Registrant would use the time to develop sufficient insight and remediate his misconduct. 

The Panel decided to impose the Suspension Order for a period of 12 months. It decided that 12 months was necessary both to mark the seriousness of the misconduct and also to give the Registrant sufficient time to undertake the work he must do to remediate. 

The Panel did consider whether it was necessary to impose a Striking Off Order in this case. It took into account paragraph 131 of SP which provides: 

“A striking off order is likely to be appropriate where the nature and gravity of the concerns are such that any lesser sanction would be insufficient to protect the public, public confidence in the profession, and public confidence in the regulatory process. In particular where the registrant: 

lacks insight;

continues to repeat the misconduct or, …

is unwilling to resolve matters.”

The Panel found that, in light of the material referred to above, a Striking Off Order was not necessary at this stage because a Suspension Order would protect the public and there was a realistic prospect that the Registrant would use the time to remediate. 

Accordingly, the Panel imposes a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months. 

  1. The substantive panel gave guidance as to what might assist a reviewing panel in the following terms:

The Suspension Order will be reviewed before its expiry. At the review hearing the reviewing panel is likely to be assisted by 

  1. The Registrant’s attendance at the review hearing;
  2. Evidence of relevant training related to observing boundaries, working with others, showing respect for colleagues and service users;
  3. A reflective piece demonstrating what the Registrant has learnt from the courses and how he will behave differently in the future;
  4. Any references or testimonials the Registrant can obtain demonstrating his ability to work with others in a respectful and appropriate manner;
  5. Evidence that the Registrant has maintained his CPD and skills.

Decision at the review hearing [ 29 October 2021]  

  1. The reviewing panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness remains impaired by reason of his misconduct. It concluded that both the personal and the public component is engaged. Its reasons were as follows;
    • There has been no material change in the underlying facts of this case since the substantive hearing.
    • The Registrant has not complied with any of the suggestions made by the substantive panel as to what might assist the Panel. In particular the Registrant has not attended in person, there is no evidence of recent relevant training (the Panel noted that the last course the Registrant attended was 21 May 2020), there are no relevant references or testimonials, there is no evidence that the Registrant has maintained his skills and the email dated 27 October 2021 cannot be treated as a satisfactory reflective piece.
    • Whilst there is some evidence of remorse and some evidence of developing insight, there is no evidence of remediation.
    • The Panel has concluded that there is a risk of repetition of the Registrant’s misconduct and thus a continuing risk to service users.
    • The Panel further concluded that public confidence in the profession of Occupational Therapy and in the HCPC as its regulator would be undermined if a finding of present impairment was not made. The Panel also concluded that such a finding was necessary to maintain proper standards of conduct within the profession.
  2. Having concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired, the reviewing panel considered the available sanctions. It took into account the HCPC Sanctions Policy. It applied the principle of proportionality. It considered each outcome and sanction available to it, in ascending order of restriction.
  3. It considered that to take no action or to impose a caution order would be wholly inappropriate and would provide no protection to the public or in any way address the public interest. Mediation is inappropriate.

 

  1. The reviewing panel then considered a Conditions of Practice Order. However, that panel had no confidence that the Registrant would comply with a Conditions of Practice Order. In coming to this conclusion, the reviewing panel adopted the reasons identified by the substantive panel. That panel also noted the non-compliance by the Registrant with the suggestions of the substantive panel as to what might assist a reviewing panel.

 

  1. The reviewing panel then considered making a further Suspension Order. After very careful consideration that Panel determined that a Suspension Order for a period of 6 months would be appropriate and proportionate. Such an order would protect the public and address the public interest. In coming to this conclusion the reviewing panel had in mind the principle of proportionality; not to impose a more restrictive order than is necessary to protect the public and sustain the public interest. In determining that this was the appropriate order to make, the reviewing panel kept in mind the email from the Registrant dated 27 October 2021. It concluded the Registrant had not shown any evidence of remediation and has not complied with the suggestions of the substantive panel. However, he had shown some evidence of remorse and had also displayed some evidence of developing insight. That panel also took into account the length of the Registrant’s career as an Occupational Therapist and the mitigating factors which had been identified by the substantive panel. The reviewing panel determined that a further Suspension Order for a period of six months would enable the Registrant to develop sufficient insight and to remediate his misconduct.

 

  1. The reviewing panel gave very serious consideration to making a Striking Off Order. It concluded that to do so now would be disproportionate. However, it was clear in its reasons that the Registrant should be aware that a future panel, reviewing the order might come to a different and less favourable conclusion.

Submissions by the HCPC at today’s hearing.

  1. Mr D’Alton submitted that there had been no material change in circumstances since the last review relative to the Registrant’s insight and remediation. Mr D’Alton submitted that the Registrant had not provided any evidence that would enable the Panel to safely conclude that he had addressed the matters that led to his previous misconduct. Mr D’Alton submitted that although the Registrant had shown some evidence of developing insight there was no material before the Panel to discharge the persuasive burden that the Registrant’s fitness to practice was no longer impaired.

 

  1. Mr D’Alton submitted that there had been a development in so far as the Registrant now wished to pursue the option of voluntary removal from the Register. Mr D’Alton submitted that it was fair and proportionate to allow the Registrant to explore that opportunity to end his career without a Panel making a Striking Off Order. Mr D’Alton submitted that to extend the current suspension order by a further 6 months would allow those enquiries to be made and protect the public in the interim. If voluntary removal was not achieved then a future reviewing Panel could consider the matter further.

Decision on Impairment

  1. The Panel's remit on this Review is to determine whether the Registrant's fitness to practise remains impaired, and, if so, how to approach any sanction, with reference to its powers under Article 30(1)(a), (b) and (c) of the Consolidated Health Professions Order 2001, as amended (the Order).

 

  1. The Panel considered whether the Registrant's fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his misconduct. It took into account the evidence before it and to the submissions of Mr D’Alton. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had particular regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on Finding that Fitness to Practise is Impaired. It recognised that the decision on impairment was a matter for its own independent judgement. The Panel also noted that it was entitled to take into account and give respect to the previous panel's reasons and conclusions, but that this Panel should approach its remit independently, based on the evidence before it today. The Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness remains impaired by reason of his misconduct. It concluded that both the personal and the public component were engaged. Its reasons were as follows;
    • There has been no material change in the underlying facts of this case since the substantive hearing.
    • The Registrant has not complied with any of the suggestions made by the substantive or reviewing panels as to what might assist the Panel. In particular the Registrant has not attended in person and there is no evidence of recent relevant training or reflection.
    • There are no substantive references or testimonials and the undated testimonial from the Registrant’s previous volunteer driver organisation was of limited assistance to the Panel when determining whether the Registrant had addressed his previous failings.
    • Whilst there is some evidence of remorse and some evidence of developing insight that was before the previous panel, there is no evidence of remediation.
    • The Panel has concluded that there is a risk of repetition of the Registrant’s misconduct and thus a continuing risk to service users.
    • The Panel further concluded that public confidence in the profession of Occupational Therapy and in the HCPC as its regulator would be undermined if a finding of present impairment was not made. The Panel also concluded that such a finding was necessary to maintain proper standards of conduct within the profession.
  2. Having concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired, the Panel next considered the available sanctions. In reaching its decision on Sanction, the Panel noted its powers under Article 30(1) (a), (b) and (c) of the Order. It accepted the Legal Assessor's advice and took into account the HCPTS' Sanctions Policy. It considered each outcome and sanction available to it, in ascending order of restriction.

 

  1. It considered that to take no action or to impose a caution order would be wholly inappropriate and would provide no protection to the public or in any way address the public interest. Mediation is inappropriate.

 

  1. The Panel then considered a Conditions of Practice Order. However, the Panel had no confidence that the Registrant would comply with a Conditions of Practice Order. In coming to this conclusion, the Panel adopted the reasons identified by the substantive and reviewing panels. The Panel considered that it could not devise workable or appropriate conditions that would address the Registrant’s lack of insight.

 

  1. The Panel then considered making a further Suspension Order. Given the position adopted by the HCPC the Panel determined that a Suspension Order for a period of 6 months would be the only appropriate and proportionate sanction. Such an order would protect the public and address the public interest and allow the Registrant to explore the possibility of exploring voluntary removal from the Register. In coming to this conclusion the reviewing panel had in mind the principle of proportionality; not to impose a more restrictive order than is necessary to protect the public and sustain the public interest.

 

  1. Although the previous reviewing panel had suggested that a Striking Off Order might be an option for this Panel it concluded that given the Registrant’s desire to explore voluntary removal it would be unfair and disproportionate to make such an order today. The Panel was mindful that the HCPC had indicated that it would be asking a future reviewing Panel for a Striking Off Order if the voluntary removal process was not successful, or the Registrant did not show the appropriate remediation to a future panel.

 

  1. In the circumstances, the Panel considered that should the Registrant change his mind about the voluntary removal process and wish to return to the Register he should take on board the recommendations of the substantive and reviewing panels about the material that may assist a future Panel.

 

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Deepak Deshmukh for a further period of 6 months from the date this order comes into effect.  This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 3 December 2022.

Notes

The order comes into effect on 3 June 2022.

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. 

Under Articles 30(10) and 38 of the Health Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made to the court not more than 28 days after the date when this notice is served on you.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Deepak K Deshmukh

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
04/05/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
29/10/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
02/11/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended