Miss Dulce Silva

Profession: Radiographer

Registration Number: RA73999

Hearing Type: Consent Order Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 23/09/2022 End: 17:00 23/09/2022

Location: This hearing will take place virtually

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Caution

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Allegation

As a registered Radiographer (RA73999) your fitness to practise is impaired by
reason of your misconduct. In that:


1. On 3 January 2021 you were issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200.00 in breach of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020:


a. You were seen with Six people in your place of residency eating and drinking alcohol.


2. The matters set out in Particular 1 above constitute misconduct. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters
1.          The Panel has been convened to consider an application made jointly by the HCPC and the Registrant that the HCPC’s allegation should be disposed of by way of consent.


Application to amend the allegation.
2.          The allegation as referred following the Investigating Committee’s “case to answer” decision on 9 December 2021 was in the following terms:


As a registered Radiographer (RA73999) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct.  In that:
1.    On 3 January 20221 you were issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200.00 in breach of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020:


a.    You were seen with Six people in your place of residency eating and drinking alcohol.


2.    The matters set out in Particular 1 above constitute misconduct.
3.    By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.


 
3.          On 28 March 2022, the HCPC wrote to the Registrant informing her that it would be its intention to apply to amend particular 1 of that allegation by adding before the words, “Six people” in the original allegation, the words “a total of”.


4.          At this hearing the Presenting Officer made the application intimated by the letter dated 28 March 2022.  The purpose of that proposed amendment was to make clear that it was a total of six people including the Registrant, and not six people in addition to the Registrant, who were seen in her home.   The Presenting Officer additionally applied to correct the syntax of the allegation in two respects.  First, to make it clear that it was the incident that gave rise to the issuing of the Fixed Penalty Notice that occurred on 3 January 2021, not the issuing of the Fixed Penalty Notice, something that followed approximately a month later.  Secondly, to correct the impression that it was the issuing of the Fixed Penalty Notice that was in breach of the Regulations.


5.           No objection to the proposed amendments was made by or on behalf of the Registrant, and the Panel agreed that they provided proper clarity.  Accordingly, the Panel acceded to the HCPC’s application to amend.


6.          Accordingly, the allegation as amended is in the following terms:


As a registered Radiographer (RA73999) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct.  In that:
1.    You were issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200.00 in respect of a breach of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, in that:


a.    On 3 January 2021 you were seen with a total of Six people in your place of residency eating and drinking alcohol.


2.    The matters set out in Particular 1 above constitute misconduct.
3.    By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.


Background
7.          At the relevant time the Registrant was employed as a diagnostic Radiographer, employed by an organisation named InHealth.


8.          At approximately 3:30pm on 3 January 2021, the Police received a report that there was what was described by the complainant later that afternoon as a “party” in the flat occupied by the Registrant, who was said to live alone at the property.


9.          Subsequent investigations demonstrated that there had indeed been a total of five people in addition to the Registrant at her flat, and the Fixed Penalty Notice was issued on 1 February 2021.  The Notice was in the sum of £200.00, but because the Registrant accepted liability promptly, she was required to pay the reduced sum of £100.00.


10.      A referral was subsequently made to the HCPC on behalf of the Care Quality Commission on 8 March 2021.


The consent application
11.      In circumstances where it was understood by the HCPC that the Registrant accepted not only the fact of the Fixed Penalty Notice, but also accepted the impact the matter had with respect to her professional reputation, the consideration of a consent disposal of the case was discussed.


12.      After the “case to answer” decision of the Investigating Committee was made, the Registrant stated that she admitted the fact that the Fixed Penalty Notice had been issued and that her fitness to practise is impaired by reason of that fact.  She also applied for the matter to be disposed of by the making of a caution order.


13.      Included in the hearing bundle made available to the Panel in advance of the hearing was a Skeleton Argument dated 28 April 2022 prepared on behalf of the HCPC.  The Skeleton Argument carefully explained both the background to the case and why the HCPC considers this is an appropriate case for a consent order resulting in a caution order for a period of 2 years.  The same hearing bundle included documentation that clearly demonstrated the Registrant’s request for, and agreement to, the same outcome.


14.      At the hearing before the Panel, the Presenting Officer outlined the HCPC’s case, which accorded with that advanced by the Skeleton Argument.  Mr Pembridge, on behalf of the Registrant acknowledged that the admission of the allegation by the Registrant was maintained following the amendments ordered by the Panel.


The Panel’s decision
15.      The Panel paid close attention to the HCPTS Practice Note dated March 2018 entitled, “Disposal by Consent” and applied the guidance contained in it.


16.      The Panel was satisfied of the following matters:


·       There was an admission of the allegation that was both unambiguous and appropriate.  It was appropriate because:


o   the behaviour of the Registrant on 3 January 2021 crossed the threshold of seriousness properly to be considered to be professional misconduct; and,
o   the misconduct was of a character that, committed by a health professional as it was, impaired the Registrant’s fitness to practise.


·       The Registrant had expressed remorse for what occurred and had demonstrated insight.


17.      The Panel then considered whether a caution order for a period of two years would represent a proper sanction.  The conclusion of the Panel was that it would for the following reasons:


·       Though serious, the misconduct in this case was not of a character that required a restriction to be placed on the Registrant’s ability to practise.
·       Before addressing the question of the length of a caution order, the Panel considered whether a more severe type of sanction order was required.  Conditions of practice would not be appropriate, and a suspension order would be a wholly disproportionate outcome.  These conclusions satisfied the Panel that a caution order was the appropriate outcome.
·       The Panel then considered whether a caution order for two years would be appropriate.  The conclusion of the Panel was that it would be as fully-informed and fair-minded members of the public would consider it to be a necessary but sufficient response to the admitted allegation.


18.      The Panel also considered whether permitting the case to be disposed of by the making of a consent order would be detrimental to the wider public interest.  The Panel considered that it would not be, as this is not a category of case which requires the full public airing of the issues involved when an appropriate level of sanction can otherwise be determined upon.


19.      For all these reasons, the Panel accedes to the joint application of the HCPC and the Registrant to make a caution order for a period of two years.  The Panel Chair will sign the Consent Order appropriately.  Although the sanction is included in the Consent Order, it is reproduced below for the sake of clarity.


20.      Finally, the Panel should state that it accepted the advice it received from the Legal Assessor that, notwithstanding the fact that the Order has been consented to, in strict theory the consequence of the wording of Article 29(9) of the Health Professions Order 2001 is that the statutory right of appeal applies to this case.  It follows that the commencement of the caution order imposed by the Panel will be subject to the usual delay while the period remains a theoretical possibility.

Order

Consent Order:
The Registrar is directed to annotate the register entry of Dulce Silva with a caution, which is to remain on the Register for a period of 2 years from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

Consent Final hearing of the conduct and competence hearing to take place on Friday 23 September 2022 at 10:00am via videolink.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Miss Dulce Silva

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
23/09/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Consent Order Hearing Caution
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