Miss Beatrice Nyahuye

: Social worker

: SW18214

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:13:30 23/02/2017 End: 17:00 23/02/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Caution

Allegation

(As amended)

Whilst registered as a Social Worker, you:
1. Stated that you undertook a visit to Service User A’s house on 2 May 2013 which did not happen.
2. Omitted, from your CV, your period of employment between 21 March 2012 and 31 May 2013 with the London Borough of Bexley.
3. Your actions described in paragraphs 1 and/or 2 were dishonest.
4. The matters described in paragraphs 1 to 3 constitute misconduct.
5. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Background

1. The Registrant is a registered Social Worker and has worked as a qualified Social Worker from September 2003. She worked as a locum Social Worker at the London Borough of Bexley (the Council) from March 2012 until May 2013. The Registrant’s Team Manager was LF who worked with the Registrant from February 2012 until the Registrant’s dismissal on 3 May 2013.

2. Service User A (SUA) was an elderly woman who was described as having fairly advanced dementia. She was being cared for by her two daughters at home. Her daughters were struggling to take care of her and asked the Council for emergency respite on 2 May 2013. The assigned social worker was the Registrant as she was on duty at the relevant time.

3. As part of the decision making process, a functional mental capacity assessment was a statutory requirement to decide whether or not SUA had capacity to make decisions relating to her care and whether or not it was in her best interests to be moved to a care home without her consent if she lacked capacity. The Registrant completed the Functional Capacity Assessment form on 3 May 2013. She completed the form as if she had undertaken the assessment visiting SUA at home on 2 May 2013, whereas it was alleged she had not attended the home, and therefore had been dishonest in her completion of the form. She was dismissed from the Council as a result of this.

4. The Registrant had first registered with Medicare First in February 2010. She was contacted in June/July 2013 by GM, a Principal Recruitment Consultant at Medicare First. The Registrant provided information, and GM subsequently updated her CV to reflect what she had told him. It was alleged that she had dishonestly omitted her employment history at the Council.

5. The Registrant was asked to attend a meeting with the Divisional and Managing Directors of Medicare First on 3 November 2014. The Divisional Manager recorded during that meeting that the Registrant accepted that she had deliberately omitted her employment history at the Council because she felt that including it would impede her chances of future employment.

6. The Registrant did not attend the Final Hearing, which took place on 22 February 2016. At the Final Hearing the Panel concluded that her fitness to practise was impaired. That Panel had no information before it as to whether or not there had been insight or remediation on the part of the Registrant to address the misconduct identified, there was also no evidence in the case to suggest the dishonesty would not be repeated. In all the circumstances, that Panel was unable to conclude anything other than that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired, and it imposed a sanction of a Suspension Order for 12 months, which is due to expire on 23 March 2017.

Decision

7. This is the first mandatory review of the Suspension Order.

8. This Panel is reviewing the Order pursuant to Article 30(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001.

9. Mr Thompson, on behalf of the HCPC, informed the Panel that the HCPC did not have a position of whether or not the Registrant was still currently impaired.

10. The Registrant had provided a number of documents for the Panel to consider, including a written reflective commentary, evidence of CPD and information that she was due to attend a Jobs Fair for Social Workers. She also attended and gave evidence. She invited the Panel to conclude that she was no longer impaired.

11. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

12. The Panel exercised its own independent judgment in determining whether the Registrant's fitness to practise remains impaired. It kept in mind the need to protect the public, to maintain public confidence in the profession, and to uphold proper standards of conduct and performance within the profession.
 
13. The Panel considered the Final Hearing which had taken place, in which that Panel had set out suggestions of information which was likely to assist the next reviewing Panel. These suggestions included a reflective statement, employment and/or character references, evidence of remediation and any CPD undertaken. This Panel concluded that the information provided by the Registrant for this review Hearing covered each of these suggested areas.

14. In light of the evidence that the Registrant gave, together with the provided information, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had made considerable progress in respect of her insight and remorse for what had happened and how it would have impacted on Service User A and the adverse reputational effect on the profession.

15. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s attitude had changed. However, the current position was that the Registrant had not worked as a Social Worker since January 2014, nor had she recently been in any form of employment due to her having a child, therefore the Panel did not have evidence before it of how the Registrant would cope in a similarly pressured working environment.

16. The Registrant had told the Panel that when she had been working as a locum she had got to a point where she was emotionally ‘burnt out’ and worried about losing her job. It appeared to the Panel that this may, in part, have triggered her initial dishonesty in declaring she had completed a home visit assessment when she had not. The Registrant also accepted that she had misrepresented herself to the Agency by not declaring that she had been dismissed from the Council.

17. The Panel concluded that these were two very serious albeit related matters of dishonesty, which required considerable efforts on the part of the Registrant to demonstrate full remediation. Although she had developed insight and completed some remediation, in the absence of the Registrant being able to demonstrate maintaining her integrity in a working environment whilst under pressure, the Panel concluded that public confidence would be undermined if a finding of no impairment were made in this case.

18. Having concluded that the Registrant's current fitness to practise remains impaired, the Panel went on to consider what would be the appropriate, proportionate and sufficient sanction, or other outcome in this case, in order to protect the public and also meet the public interest.

19. The Panel had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy (ISP) and considered the sanctions in ascending order of severity. The Panel was aware that the purpose of a sanction is not to be punitive but to protect members of the public and to safeguard the public interest, which includes upholding standards within the profession, together with maintaining public confidence in the profession and its regulatory process.

20. The Panel concluded that the matter was too serious for it to take no further action, such a course would not address the wider public confidence.

21. The Panel next considered a Caution Order and in particular, paragraph 22.The Panel was of the view that the facts of this case did not fit easily with the ISP guidance.  Although the Panel acknowledged that the misconduct was not minor in nature, it took into account that the misconduct had already been marked thus far with 12 months’ suspension. In relation to the rest of the paragraph, the Panel was of the view that there was a low risk of recurrence, the Registrant had shown insight.

22. The Panel concluded that a Caution Order was the appropriate sanction in the particular circumstances of this case. In the Panel’s view it reflects the situation that both the Registrant and prospective employers need to be aware of, and it is a proportionate response, given her financial obligations in respect of her children.

23. The Panel considered the length of the Caution Order and concluded that it should be for a period of 5 years. It noted that the ISP indicated that the ‘benchmark’ was 3 years. However, given the Panel’s earlier conclusion of the seriousness of the misconduct, the Panel concluded that the maximum length of 5 years was necessary in this case to maintain confidence in the profession.


24. The Panel went on to consider a Conditions of Practice Order, and concluded that although it would be possible to draft conditions restricting the Registrant from, for example, working as a locum and having a mentor, this was not a usual Conditions of Practice case as there were no clinical concerns to be addressed. Therefore, on balance, the Panel concluded that a Caution Order for a longer period appropriately and proportionately reflected the seriousness of the case.

Order

The Registrar is directed to annotate the register entry of Beatrice Nyahuye with a caution which is to remain on the register for a period of five years from the expiry of the existing Suspension Order.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Miss Beatrice Nyahuye

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
23/02/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Caution
22/02/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended