Mr Christopher Barlow

: Chiropodist / podiatrist

: CH15159

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 02/02/2017 End: 13:00 02/02/2017

: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

: Health Committee
: Struck off

Allegation

Your fitness to practice is impaired by reason of your physical and/or mental health.

Finding

Preliminary matters

Service

1. The Panel is satisfied there had been good service of the notice of hearing which was dispatched to the Registrant’s registered address on 24 January 2017.

Proceeding in the absence

2. On 23 January 2017, the Registrant informed the HCPC by email that he would not be attending today’s hearing because of current work commitments. This is a mandatory review, there has been no application for an adjournment and the Panel’s view was that it was in the interests of justice that Ms Alexander-Victor’s application that the hearing should be proceed in the absence of the Registrant should be granted.

 Application for the hearing to be heard in private

3. The Panel decided that the hearing should be conducted in private because the case concerns the health of the Registrant.

 Background

4. In 2001 the Registrant suffered a very serious accident. Since that date a number of concerns had been raised about the quality of the Registrant’s professional practice. Specifically, there had been problems with time management, record keeping and communication with patients. At the time the Registrant was working as a Band 6 Podiatrist with Liverpool Primary Care Trust (the Trust). 

5. The Registrant underwent periods of supervision at the end of 2005 and in April 2008. After particular concerns were raised as to the Registrant’s treatment of on one of his patients, a third period of supervised practice was imposed. Thereafter, the Registrant was restricted to treating patients of a type usually suitable for treatment by a podiatric assistant. There was a return to work on part time basis but on non-clinical, clerical work.

6. On 1 February 2012 the Registrant accepted that his fitness to practice was impaired by reason of his physical and/or medical health. The Health Committee accepted this to be the position and imposed two conditions upon his practice for a period of two years. At the first review of this order, on 7 February 2014, a Conditions of Practice order was confirmed, albeit with variations. Three conditions were imposed.

 Decision

7. The Panel is conscious that all these problems suffered by the Registrant are due to a very unfortunate experience he suffered in 2001. The Panel is impressed by the consistent candour the Registrant has shown to his regulatory body and notes, as an example of this, the fact that, from the outset, he has accepted that his fitness to practice as a Podiatrist was impaired.

8. The Registrant now has had a Conditions of Practice Order imposed upon him for 5 years. During the course of this time he has not been working in any capacity which requires registration. By virtue of a letter dated 23 January 2017, the Registrant has told the HCPC that he has, since January 2015 transferred his job for Liverpool Equipment Service to offices in Leeds. He added in that letter “at present I have no plans to continue a career path in Podiatry at this moment”.

9. In all the above stated circumstances, where, amongst other things, the Registrant has not worked in his chosen profession for a long time, the Panel considers that his fitness to practise remains impaired – on all three statutory grounds, public safety, the public interest and the interests of the Registrant himself.

10. The Panel considers that an extension of the Conditions of Practice Order would not be appropriate. To permit the Registrant to return to practice, even with restrictions, would pose safety problems for his patients. Additionally, there has been no suggestion that the Registrant maintained Continual Professional Development. No conditions could be drafted that would be workable or would address his impairment.

11. For similar reasons, the Panel’s view is that a Suspension Order would be inappropriate in this case and serve no practical purpose.

12. This is a most unfortunate case, but the Panel’s view is that it has no option now other than to find that the appropriate and proportionate sanction to impose is that of a Striking Off Order on the statutory grounds of public safety and the public interest.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Christopher R Barlow from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

This order will come into effect on expiry of the current order.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Christopher Barlow

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
02/02/2017 Health Committee Review Hearing Struck off
07/02/2014 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice