Miss Tania Myhre
1. The Panel found that there had been good service of these proceedings, in accordance with rule 3 of the Health and Care Professions Council (Health Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003.
2. Under the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 there is no automatic right for a hearing relating to health issues to be heard in private. This being the case, the HCPC applied for this hearing to be heard in private so as to protect the private life of the Registrant. The Panel consulted the HCPC’s Practice Note on “Conducting Hearings in Private”. There is a presumption that so far as possible hearings should be open and transparent and the subject of public scrutiny. It is therefore for the Panel to balance the Registrant’s right to privacy concerning confidential health matters with the public interest. The Panel decided that as the evidence relates almost exclusively to the Registrant’s health, the hearing would be conducted entirely in private.
3. The Panel next considered whether to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant. The Panel was advised by the Legal Assessor to consider the guidance in the HCPC Practice Note entitled Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant (dated September 2016) and followed that advice. The Panel carefully considered the HCPC bundle of documents and the Response Proforma from the Registrant (dated 9 October 2016) stating that she does not intend to appear in person at the hearing and “cannot afford to”. The Proforma also states that she does not admit the allegation that her fitness to practice is impaired.
4. The Presenting Officer submitted that the Registrant has chosen not to attend the hearing today, and that she also chose not to attend on 3 May 2016 when this matter was also listed for a final hearing; but was adjourned for evidential reasons unrelated to the Registrant’s non-attendance on that date.
5. The hearing should proceed in the Registrant’s absence today, because there is nothing in the papers to indicate that she would be likely to attend if this matter were to be adjourned, and it is in the public interest to proceed with this hearing today. It appears that no application has been made by the Registrant for financial assistance to enable her to attend the hearing today (or to attend the hearing on 3 May 2016) and the notice of hearing does state that: “If you have any particular requirements regarding the hearing, please notify us in advance and, where possible and practicable, we will try to accommodate them”.
6. However the Panel wishes to register strong disappointment that the HCPC failed to reply to the Registrant’s Proforma, with specific information concerning the circumstances in which the HCPC might fund her travel costs, or enable her to attend the hearing by telephone.
7. Nevertheless, the Panel concluded that the Registrant is aware of the hearing today and has waived her right to attend this hearing. There is a witness in attendance waiting to give evidence today and this matter was first referred to the HCPC in July 2014. The Panel is satisfied that a fair hearing can take place in the absence of the Registrant today, and that it is in the public interest for this hearing to proceed.
8. The Registrant is registered in the Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) part of the HCPC register.
Decision on Grounds
9. The Panel took into account the representations of the HCPC, the advice of the Legal Assessor and the HCPC Practice Note on Health Allegations.
Decision on Impairment
10. The HCPC submits that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired.
11. The purpose of these proceedings is not to punish the practitioner for past misdoings but to protect the public against the acts and omissions of those who are not fit to practise. The Panel thus looks forward not back. However, in order to form a view as to the fitness of a person to practise today, it is evident that the Panel will have to take account of the way in which the person concerned has acted or failed to act in the past. Looking at the public component identified in the Practice Note, there is a need to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour so as to maintain public confidence in the profession.
12. Therefore in summary, in reaching its decision the Panel took into account the following:
· In relation to impairment, the Panel reminded itself that the test of impairment is expressed in the present tense, that fitness to practise ‘is impaired’.
· Whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired is a matter of judgment for the Panel.
· The guidance issued by the HCPC in its Practice Note entitled: Finding that fitness to practise is impaired.
13. The Panel has no current professional or personal references from the Registrant before it.
14. Given these factors, the Panel has come to the conclusion that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired on the person and public components due to the need to protect the public from potential harm.
Decision on Sanction
15. The Panel is mindful that in a case involving a health condition the provisions of Article 29(6) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 provide that the Registrant cannot be struck off the HCPC Register, unless and until they have been the subject of a continuous period of conditions of practice or period of suspension in excess of two years following a substantive hearing. This being the case, this Panel does not have the right today to remove the Registrant’s name from the Register on a permanent basis.
16. In a matter involving health, the Panel is also conscious of the fact that the sanction should not be seen to be a punishment nor is it intended to be punitive in nature but to provide a means by which the Registrant may be able to return to safe practice, if there is a possibility of this, at some point in the future.
17. The Panel took into account the opinions of Dr Nadeem. Dr Nadeem concluded that if she were to return to employment she should have restrictions on her registration.
18. The Panel therefore considered that some form of restriction was required not only for service user protection but in the Registrant’s own interests.
19. The Panel did not identify any aggravating or mitigating factors of significance. The Panel approached the ladder of sanction beginning with the least restrictive.
20. Taking into account the guidance in the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy, the Panel came to the following conclusions: Taking no further action was neither appropriate nor proportionate in the circumstances of the case as it would fail to provide the necessary level of public protection. Therefore it was neither in the public interest, nor in the Registrant’s interest. The Panel did not consider mediation to be appropriate as the impairment was on the grounds of the Registrant’s health. The imposition of a Caution Order would also not provide protection to the public against the risk of repetition. As such it was not an appropriate sanction.
21. The Panel gave careful consideration as to whether there were any Conditions of Practice that would both provide the support required by the Registrant and the appropriate level of service user protection required. The Panel was unable to identify workable conditions that would not be so restrictive as to amount to a suspension by another name. Moreover, the Registrant had not engaged and so, even if workable conditions could be identified, the Panel could not be satisfied that she would co-operate with them.
22. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. This would ensure public protection. The Panel therefore came to the conclusion that a period of suspension was appropriate and proportionate. This will enable the Registrant to demonstrate that she has successfully addressed and is managing her health condition, before returning to practice as an ODP. The Panel went on to consider the necessary length of the Suspension Order and decided that a period of suspension for twelve months was the minimum necessary to allow the Registrant to prove that she could remain abstinent and develop appropriate insight. Therefore, the Panel makes a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months.
23. As stated above, a Striking Off Order is not available to this Panel.
24. This Order will be reviewed prior to its expiry.
25. The Panel would also draw the Registrant’s attention to the conclusion of the Psychiatric Report by Dr Nadeem.
Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Miss Tania Myhre for a period of twelve months from the operative date.
History of Hearings for Miss Tania Myhre
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|02/11/2017||Health Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|
|10/11/2016||Health Committee||Final Hearing||Suspended|