Malcolm E Needs

Profession: Biomedical scientist

Registration Number: BS30961

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 12/10/2022 End: 17:00 13/10/2022

Location: Virtual Hearing via Video Conference

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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As a registered Biomedical Scientist (BS30961) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct. In that:

1. Between 26 February 2021 and 12 October 2021, you engaged in inappropriate and/or unprofessional conduct via social media, in that you posted the following on Twitter:

a. On 26 February 2021 you tweeted “Sorry, but it is STILL wrong. They are not pregnant persons (obvious to anyone who could pass the 11 plus), but, unless they already have at least one child, they are not pregnant mothers. They are, quite simply, pregnant women.”

b. On 26 February 2021 you tweeted “Is there ANYTHING that is not racist?”.

c. On 08 March 2021 you tweeted a response, “On International Men’s Day, will you be thanking your other 35% of members (assuming, of course, that there even is an International Men’s Day)?”

d. On 09 March 2021 you tweet along side a picture of your former colleagues, “There have been an awful lot of ignorant people on here saying that I hate women in work and especially if they are a POC. This was the staffing in my own laboratory just before I retired. The three
“non-POC” women are a Portuguese woman and two Australian women. Strange that.”

e. On 09 March 2021 you tweeted, ““Get out of Black folk’s business? If that isn’t blatantly racist, I don’t know what is. It is “folk’s business”, not “Black folk’s business””.

f. On 09 March 2021 you retweet, “Multiculturalism destroys culture”.

g. On 09 March 2021 – “What do they need to learn then DIANE HALF WIT WHITE RACE HATER? Who are you to tell them how it should be… another eg of how BLM is tying to rule this country. Just shut up you racist.”

h. On 11 March 2021 you retweeted a post, “What are we all today, racists or rapists? I can’t keep up”.

i. On 15 March 2021 you retweeted , “All the bra burners should be marching about this surely?”

j. On 09 May 2021 you retweeted, “Can’t get any worse can it?” along with an image which would cause offense.

k. On 10 May 2021 you retweeted, ““Cultural enrichment” This is Noaun Asefa. He lives in the UK on benefits. Last night he was caught by a paedophile hunting team for sexually grooming a 13 year old child and attempting to get her to travel to him. Well done to STOP UK. Link to

l. On 12 September 2021 you retweeted, “Man beats woman and we’re supposed to be celebrating this?! Really.”

m. On 13 September 2021 you tweeted, “And make them pay, like they paid the people smugglers to come over in the first place, and give our own taxpayers a rest”, along with an image stating, “Putting illegal immigrants up in 5* hotels has saved the hotel industry. So let’s save the airline industry by flying the f___ers back home!!”.

n. On 14 September 2021 you tweeted, “It would appear that Black Lives Matter, but not those of other ethnicities. ANOTHER knife crime Cressida Dick and Sadiq Khan. What is your “score” for this year?”

o. On 17 September 2021 you tweeted, “Black Lives Matter Then” along with a post by another user regarding an incident of theft.

p. On 18 September 2021 you tweeted, “Gang members jailed for a “brutal” street stabbing murder of NHS worker… Yet another case of Black Lives Mattering”.

q. On 19 September 21 you retweeted, “Nana Akua: I’m going to say something that may be controversial to some…only biological women have a cervix. Shock horror!”

r. On 26 September 2021 you retweeted, “Only women have a cervix. There, I said it, it’s not difficult. Women also have a right to women-only spaces. Speaking up in defence of women’s rights doesn’t mean we can’t respect how others wish to live their lives.”

s. On 26 September 2021 you retweeted, “I Swear my head will explode if another person classes me as a “cis woman”. I am NOT a cis woman but I AM a woman. I have a cervix which no man can claim to have and biologically that will never change. I am not just tired of this insanity but I’m fed up of being labelled.”

t. On 12 October 2021 you retweeted, “I see that Black History month is being promoted everywhere. No doubt this is celebrating their history. Fine. But why are they allowed to demean and & insult non-black history? Pandering & virtue signalling”.

2. Your actions at particular 1 amount to misconduct.

3. By reason of your misconduct that your fitness to practice is impaired.


Preliminary Matters
Service and Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant
1. The Panel was provided with a service bundle which showed that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant by email and post to his registered address dated 24 August 2022. The Panel was satisfied that service had been in accordance with the rules on service which require that notice be sent to the Registrant’s address.
2. Mr Bridges applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. He referred to the contents of an email received by HCPC from the Registrant dated 26 July 2022 in which he wrote,
How many times do I have to tell you that I want NOTHING to do with your Kangaroo Court, and that, if I get one or email about this, I will take legal advice about harassment.
I am happily retired, and no longer wish to be registered on the HCPC role [sic] and am only too delighted the tunnel to pay this quango huge amounts of money for little return.
The fact that the HTPC keeps on contacting me, despite me making my views know [sic] earlier shows just how the organisation wastes the money of those still forced to be registered.
3. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself, had disengaged and did not want to be contacted by the HCPC. The Panel considered that no advantage would be gained by adjourning the hearing as that would not secure his attendance or representation. In all the circumstances, the Panel considered that it was just and would cause no unfairness to proceed with the hearing in the Registrant’s absence.
4. The Registrant is a retired Biomedical Scientist who was last employed by NHS Blood and Transplant as a Reference Service Manager until October 2016.
5. On 18 March 2021, EV, Senior Biomedical Scientist at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, submitted a complaint to the HCPC, raising concerns about the Registrant’s Twitter activity.
6. EV provided the HCPC with several examples of the Registrant’s Twitter posts between 26 February 2021 and 12 October 2021 in which the Registrant made comments relating to different controversial and sensitive topics such as immigration, trans-phobia and nationalism, and which the complainant EV stated were offensive and evidence of hostility towards certain groups of society. On his twitter page, the Registrant had expressly referenced his profession as a Biomedical Scientist and healthcare worker.
7. HCPC did not call any oral evidence but relied on the written evidence of EV and EW, a legal assistant who is employed by the solicitors instructed by the HCPC. 
8. EV first came across the Registrant’s Twitter page in March 2021. Her evidence was that there is an active “healthcare sciences community” on social media and in March 2021, one of the Registrant’s tweets appeared on EV’s Twitter timeline. Out of curiosity, EV took a look at the Registrant’s Twitter page and came across, what she describes as, “a deeply unpleasant tirade of racist, misogynistic, trans-phobic and nationalistic tweets”.
9. EV knew that the Registrant was a Biomedical Scientist, as he had stated this within his Twitter bio at the time. In addition, the Registrant had mentioned being a Biomedical Scientist on one of his Twitter posts where he had joined discussions relating to blood transfusions.
10. EW’s evidence was that on 5 January 2022, Kingsley Napley Solicitors were instructed to investigate the Registrant’s fitness to practice. On 1 February 2022, EW conducted a review of the Registrant’s Twitter page. Within the Registrant’s Twitter bio, he had described himself as an, “Ex-Blood Group Serologist”. EW produced the main exhibit which comprised screenshots of the Registrant’s twitter posts.
11. The HCPC Guidance on social media sets out some “top tips” for using social media in a way which meets the HCPC standards of Ethics and Conduct and the HCPC standards for Biomedical Scientists which includes:
  • Think before you post;
  • Think about who can see what you share;
  • Maintain appropriate professional boundaries;
  • Do not post information which could identify a service user unless you have their permission;
  • Do not post inappropriate or offensive material;
Decision on Facts
12. The Panel first considered which if any of Particulars 1(a) to (t) had been proved. It bore in mind that the burden of proof was on the HCPC to the civil standard, i.e. whether it was more likely than not that the Particular was proved. The Panel considered each of Particulars 1(a) – (t) separately, bearing in mind the stem of Particular 1 which is that the Registrant had engaged in inappropriate and/or unprofessional conduct. 
13. Taking into account the content of the Registrant’s Twitter page and the tweets, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had either tweeted or retweeted the individual tweets set out in Particular 1 of the allegations. The Registrant is identified by both name and his picture.
14. In respect of Particular 1 (a) [Exhibit 10], the Panel considered that although this comment was ill-advised, it was not inappropriate and/or unprofessional in the circumstances. Accordingly, Particular 1 (a) is found not proved. The Panel however found Particular 1 (b) proved as being designed to inflame a controversial and heated situation. 
15. However, the Panel found Particular 1 (c) not proved, as the comment, whilst ill-advised was a statement of fact and on balance did not amount to being inappropriate or unprofessional. 
16. In respect of Particular 1 (d), [Exhibit 4], the Panel found the content of what the Registrant had tweeted alongside a picture of his former colleagues both inappropriate and unprofessional. Particular 1 (d) is found proved. In effect the Registrant, through this tweet, sought to demonstrate that he is not racist but is then divisive in terms of describing the team along racial lines and is then sarcastic and disrespectful to some of his colleagues, describing his “non-POC” colleagues as being “Portuguese and Australian, Strange that”.
17. In respect of Particular 1 (e), the Panel found that the Registrant was dismissive and offensive towards black people and found this Particular proved. In respect of Particular 1 (f), the Registrant’s tweet that, “Multiculturalism destroys culture”, was, the Panel found, inflammatory, divisive and prejudiced, particularly taking into account the setting in which the Registrant worked.
18. In respect of Particulars 1 (g) and 1 (h), the Panel found those tweets to be seriously offensive and were proved. With regards to Particulars 1 (i), (j) and (k), the Panel found those to be unprofessional and inappropriate, being deliberately designed to cause division and prejudice.
19. The Panel considered each of Particulars 1 (l) to (t) to be unprofessional and inappropriate. The Panel considered that these tweets demonstrated sarcasm, hostility and an offensive and derogatory attitude towards several groups with protected characteristics. They were highly unprofessional.
Decision on Grounds
20. In deciding whether the Statutory Ground of misconduct was made out, the Panel had regard to the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (July 2016) at 2.7, “You must use all forms of communication appropriately and responsibly, including social media and networking websites” and at 9.1, “You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession”.
21. The Panel also had regard to the advice given in The HCPC Guidance on social media. Further, whilst a decision of the Bar Adjudication Service, and therefore not binding, the Panel was guided by what was said in the case of Jon Holbrook v Bar Tribunal Service, Case no. 2021/4441, which dealt with similar facts to the present although in the context of a Barrister rather than a Biomedical Scientist. 
22. The Panel was very conscious of the Registrant’s rights to Freedom of Speech and Expression which should be accorded the utmost respect. However, the Panel also noted what was said in the Holbrook case, “Mr Holbrook accepted however, that the right to political speech is not entirely unfettered and would lose its highly protected status where the manner of expression of the political view involves gratuitous personal abuse, derogatory racist or sexist language… Grossly offensive and disparaging Facebook posts which were targeted misogynistic…”
23. The Panel in the Holbrook case also accepted that breaches of professional standards may occur without the commission of any crime… “However, given the importance ascribed to freedom of expression… It follows that, for the expression of a political believed to be such that it diminishes the trust of the public in the particular barrister or in the profession as a whole it will require something more than the mere causing of offence. At the very least, the relevant speech would have to be seriously offensive or seriously discreditable… Even in such cases there would have to be a close consideration of the facts to establish that the speech had gone beyond the wide latitude allowed for the expression of the political opinion”.
24. It was this Panel’s view that individually and taken as a whole, the facts found proved went beyond the wide latitude allowed for the expression of political opinion or personal beliefs. The Panel found that the Registrant’s tweets had the potential to cause more than mere offence and were seriously offensive and discreditable. The tweets taken as a whole comprised a stream of deplorable invective over a period of several months which fell far below the standards expected of a Biomedical Scientist. The Registrant’s tweets included prejudice against immigrants (1 (m)), inciting racial hatred (1 (f)(o), (p), (k) inflaming gender discrimination (1(r) (s) and prejudice about feminist issues (1 (c), (l). 
25. The Panel was satisfied that other Biomedical Scientists and others would find the Registrant’s tweets deplorable. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s conduct fell far below standards 2.7 and 9.1 and that misconduct was established. 
Decision on Impairment
26. The Panel next considered whether, as a result of its finding that misconduct had been established, the Registrant’s fitness to practice is currently impaired. The Panel had regard to the submissions made by Mr Bridges and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel also had regard to the HCPTS’s practice note on finding that fitness to practise is impaired.
27. The Panel considered both the personal and public components of impairment. In respect of the personal component, the Panel has not been presented with any evidence of insight or remediation on the Registrant’s part. The Panel was not satisfied that the Registrant has any appreciation as to the hurt and damage his tweets may have caused, particularly to his colleagues given the multicultural/multiracial environment in which a Biomedical Scientist would normally work.
28. In the absence of any evidence that the Registrant’s conduct would not be repeated, the Panel found that his fitness to practise is currently impaired under the personal component of impairment.
29. The Panel was further satisfied that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired under the public component of impairment. The Panel considered that members of the public would be rightly concerned at the Registrant’s conduct and that a finding of impairment was required to maintain confidence in the profession and its regulator.
Decision on Sanction
30. In light of its finding that the Registrant’s fitness to practice is currently impaired on both the personal and the public components of impairment, the Panel considered what, if any, sanction would be appropriate and proportionate.
31. The Panel heard submissions on sanction from Mr Bridges. The Panel received and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and had regard to the Sanctions Policy (March 2019) which states at Paragraphs 20 and 21:
“20. In making proportionate decisions on sanction, panels need to strike a balance between the competing interests of the registrant and the HCPC’s overriding objective to protect the public. Therefore, decisions should deal with the concerns raised, but be fair, just and reasonable. 
21. Sanctions are not intended to be punitive. Panels should only take the minimum action necessary to ensure the public is protected. This means considering the least restrictive sanction available to them first, and only moving on to a more restrictive sanction if it is necessary to protect the public”
32. The Panel considered the aggravating factors that the Registrant had, over a period of 8 months, tweeted content which was seriously offensive and discriminatory, targeting most of the groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act. Further, no evidence was presented to the Panel as to any remorse, reflection or remediation and there remains a high risk of repetition. No mitigating factors were identified or put forward by the Registrant due to his non-engagement.
33. Having carefully considered the Indicative Sanctions Policy, the Panel concluded that given its findings of misconduct and current impairment on both the personal and public components of impairment, that it would not be sufficient to protect the public or in the public interest, for the Panel to take no further action or issue a caution. This was not a case involving an isolated incident or of a minor nature. Nor would taking no further action or a caution mark the seriousness of the matter. 
34. The Panel next considered whether Conditions of Practice which were workable and practicable could be formulated. However, in view of the Registrant’s non-engagement, the nature of the misconduct which is attitudinal rather than clinical and the seriousness of the misconduct, the Panel concluded that Conditions of Practice would not be appropriate or proportionate.
35. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order, noting that suspension may be appropriate where a Registrant has insight, is unlikely to repeat the misconduct and where a Striking off Order would be disproportionate. However, in the absence of any evidence of insight, remorse and remediation or that the misconduct is unlikely to be repeated, the Panel concluded that suspension was not appropriate or proportionate. Further, given the Registrant’s nonengagement with this process and his statement that he does not wish to be contacted by the HCPC, the Panel considered that a period of suspension would serve no useful purpose and would not aid the Registrant’s remediation.
36. For all the above reasons, the Panel concluded that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was a Striking off Order. The Panel bore in mind that a Striking off Order is a sanction of last resort and should only be imposed in cases of serious misconduct where the circumstances are such that it would be incompatible for the Registrant to remain on the register.
37. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s misconduct fell into the serious category of cases identified in the Guidance, given his repeated and prolonged discriminatory attitudes towards persons with protected characteristics. The Panel was also satisfied that the Registrant’s misconduct had the potential to seriously undermine public confidence in the profession and in the HCPC, were it not to take serious action against him.



ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Malcolm E Needs from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.


Interim Order
1. The Panel heard submissions from Mr Bridges on the need for an Interim Order to cover the period during which an appeal may be made and, if one is made, whilst that appeal is in progress.  The Panel noted that the Notice of this hearing included notice that were the allegation found proved and a sanction of suspension or strike-off imposed, the Panel could impose an Interim Order.
2. For the same reasons as given above for the Panel deciding to proceed with the substantive hearing in the Registrant’s absence, the Panel decided to hear this application for an Interim Order in the Registrant’s absence.
The Panel’s Decision
3. The Panel is of the view that, given the nature and seriousness of the misconduct in this case, public confidence in the regulatory process would be undermined if the Registrant were allowed to remain in practice on an unrestricted basis during any appeal period. The Panel therefore determined that an Interim Order is necessary to protect the public and is otherwise in the public interest. The Panel first considered whether an Interim Conditions of Practice Order would be sufficient. However, for the same reasons as dealt with at the sanction stage above, the Panel concluded that interim conditions would not be appropriate or proportionate in this case.
4. The Panel therefore decided to make an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health Professions Order 2001, the same being 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 Malcolm E Needs

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
12/10/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off