Mrs Amy L Mawson

: Occupational therapist

: OT26164

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:13:00 31/03/2017 End: 17:00 31/03/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

Whilst employed as an Occupational Therapist for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust:

 

1)     Between 28 June 2013 and 3 March 2014, regarding Service User 1, you:

 

a)     Did not complete an assessment until 9 January 2014

b)    Did not record the 9 January 2014 assessment until 5 February 2014

c)     Did not complete and/or record an adequate assessment in that the assessment recorded on 5 February 2014 was incomplete

d)    Not proved

e)     Not proved:

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

2)     Between 3 July 2013 and 14 April 2014, regarding Service User 2, you:

 

a)     Did not complete an assessment until 27 January 2014

b)    Did not record the 27 January 2014 assessment until 5 February 2014

c)     Did not complete and/or record an adequate assessment in that the assessment recorded on 5 February 2014 was incomplete

d)    Not proved

e)     Not proved

f)     Not proved

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

3)     Between 27 September 2013 and 18 February 2014, regarding Service User 3, you:

 

a)     Did not complete an assessment until 30 January 2014

b)    Did not record the 30 January 2014 assessment until 6 February 2014

c)     Did not complete and/or record an adequate assessment in that the assessment recorded on 6 February 2014 was incomplete

d)    Not proved

e)     Not proved

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

4)     Between 6 January 2014 and 14 April 2014, regarding Service User 4, you:

 

a)     Did not complete an assessment until 29 January 2014

b)    Did not record the 29 January 2014 assessment until 5 February 2014

c)     Did not complete and/or record any contact between 5 February 2014 and 14 April 2014

d)    Not proved

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

5)     Between 30 January 2014 and 14 April 2014, regarding Service User 5, you:

 

a)     Did not complete and/or record an adequate assessment in that the assessment recorded on 6 February 2014 was incomplete

b)    Not proved

c)     Not proved

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

6)     Between 5 February 2014 and 14 April 2014, regarding Service User 6, you:

 

a)     Did not complete and/or record an adequate assessment in that the assessment recorded on 6 February 2014 was incomplete

b)    Not proved

c)     Not proved

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

7)     Between 16 January 2014 and 11 April 2014, regarding Service User 7, you:

 

a)     Did not complete and/or record an assessment

b)    Did not complete and/or record any contact

c)     Did not facilitate progress towards recovery in that:

i)      You did not complete and/or record sufficient occupational therapy interventions to achieve care plan goals;

 

ii)     Your interventions were not personalised and/or not linked to care plan goals.

 

8)     Between 22 January 2014 and 14 April 2014, regarding Service User 8, you:

 

a)     Did not complete and/or record an adequate assessment in that the assessment recorded on 6 February 2014 was incomplete

b)    Not proved

c)     Not proved

d)    Not proved

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

9)     Between 12 February 2014 and 14 April 2014, regarding Service User 9, you:

 

a)     Did not complete and/or record an assessment

b)    Not proved

c)     Not proved

i)      Not proved

ii)     Not proved

 

10)   Between 9 March 2014 and 14 April 2014, regarding Service User 10, you:

 

a)     Did not complete and/or record an assessment

b)    Did not complete and/or record any contact or interventions

 

11)   Between 11 March 2014 and 7 April 2014, regarding Service User 11, you:

 

a)     Did not complete and/or record an assessment

b)    Did not complete and/or record a care plan

c)     Did not complete and/or record any contact or interventions

 

12)   On 5 February 2014 you indicated that you finished work at 18:29 but you recorded assessments at:

 

a)     19:31

b)    19:40

c)     19:46

d)    19:52

e)     19:57

 

13)  On 6 February 2014 you indicated that you finished work at 18:32 but you recorded assessments at:

a)     18:47

b)    18:54

c)     19:26

d)    19:31

 

14)  Not proved

 

15)   In or around April 2010 you did not act in Service User A’s best interests and/or failed to maintain professional boundaries in that you arranged for a friend of yours to purchase a horse from Service User A

 

16)   In or around November 2013, you failed to maintain professional boundaries in that you lent money to, and/or received money from, Service User B

 

17)   Your actions at paragraphs 1-11 constitute misconduct and/or a lack of competence

 

18)   Your actions at paragraphs 12-16 constitute misconduct

 

19)   By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is Impaired.

 

Facts proved at final hearing: 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, 4c, 5a, 6a, 7a, 7b, 7c(i)-c(ii), 8a, 9a, 10a,10b, 11a, 11b, 11c, 12, 13, 15 & 16

 

Facts not proved at final hearing: 1d, 1e(i)-e(ii), 2d, 2e, 2f(i)-f(ii), 3d, 3e(i)-e(ii), 4d(i)-d(ii), 5b, 5c(i)-c(ii), 6b, 6c(i)-c(ii), 8b, 8c, 8d(i)-d(ii), 9b, 9(c)(i) – (c)(ii) & 14.

 

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Registrant has neither attended the hearing nor been represented at it. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant was served at her registered address with the Notice of Hearing dated 3 March 2017. In it, the correct venue, date and time was set out. The notice was sent 28 days before today's Hearing. That amounts to notice in a reasonable time in the view of the Panel. Therefore, the Panel has determined that there has been effective service of the Notice of Hearing.
Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant

2. Ms Willman submitted on behalf of the HCPC, that the hearing should proceed in the Registrant's absence. There has been no communication from the Registrant. She did not attend the original hearing and there is no indication that she has engaged with the regulatory process. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor's advice. It also took into consideration the HCPC's Practice Note on Proceeding in Absence of a Registrant.

3. The Panel considered that the Registrant, who had been served with the Notice of Hearing, had the choice to engage with this process, as she has knowledge of today's hearing and has chosen not to attend either personally or by telephone. In the Panel's judgement she has absented herself of her own free will. The Panel concluded that it was in the public interest to continue with the hearing in her absence to ensure an expeditious and efficient disposal of the hearing which is a mandatory review. There has been no request for an adjournment. Furthermore, the Panel determined that the protection of the public and the wider public interest outweighed the interests of the Registrant in hearing this matter today. The Panel therefore determined to hear this matter in the absence of the Registrant. In making this decision the Panel will not hold the Registrant’s absence against her.
 
Background

4. The Registrant was employed by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (the Trust) from about 1998 and was the Band 6 Occupational Therapist in the Applewood Unit which had 18 adult in-patient service users. These were vulnerable service users because they had mental health problems; some were detained under the Mental Health Act. The Registrant was the subject of a Trust investigation in 2010 with regard to her dealings with the rehoming of a service user’s horse. From January 2013 the Registrant had management responsibility for one Band 4 Occupational Therapy Technician and one Band 5 part-time Occupational Therapist, who joined the Unit, although these responsibilities were removed within about a month. From April 2013 the Registrant was provided with support under the Trust’s “Improving Performance” Policy which continued into 2014. The Registrant’s last day at work was 14 April 2014. Her employment with the Trust ceased when she was dismissed with effect from 12 September 2014. The Trust’s concerns were referred to the HCPC. A final hearing of the Conduct and Competence Committee (CCC) was held between the dates of 17 November 2015 and 13 April 2016. That panel found a number of facts proved and determined that the facts found proved amounted to misconduct but not a lack of competence. It found the Registrant’s fitness to practise to be impaired.

5. In considering the question of sanction, that panel found a number of aggravating features. The failure to respect professional boundaries occurred twice, (the second
time occurred despite retraining after the first occasion). The repeated failures in completing and recording of assessments gave rise to the risk of harm to this group of service users. Service users were deprived of engagement with relevant services and as a consequence there were potential delays in their discharge. All the service users involved were particularly vulnerable. There was actual emotional harm to Service User A. The Registrant’s failures affected the reputations of the Trust and the profession. The panel found several mitigating factors. The Registrant had shown some insight by admitting her shortcomings whilst still at the Trust and initially engaging in this regulatory process. The Registrant, although misguided, had clearly been motivated by good intentions in her actions regarding the rehoming of Service User A’s horse. The Registrant had had to cope with health issues. The panel reviewed all of the available sanctions and imposed a suspension order for 12 months.
 
Decision
 
6. This Panel is reviewing that order. It has heard submissions from Ms Willman on behalf of the HCPC and read all of the documents.  There has been no communication from the Registrant since the suspension order was imposed. The HCPC said that the Registrant has not engaged, therefore there is no evidence that she has redeemed her shortcomings. She is not demonstrating insight and her fitness to practise remains impaired. They said a further suspension order is required for 12 months.

7. The Panel bore in mind that the question of impairment is for this Panel to decide. It considered all of the matters including the lack of engagement by the Registrant. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has shown no evidence to demonstrate that she appreciates the gravity of the matters found against her or their effect upon the public and Service Users. She has shown no insight into those matters. The Panel therefore considers that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired on both the personal and the public elements of impairment.

8. Having found that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired the Panel went on to consider the question of sanction. Before reaching its decision the Panel considered the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

9. In deciding what sanction, if any, to impose, the Panel has reminded itself that the purpose of sanctions is not to be punitive but to protect Service Users and the public interest, although a sanction may have a punitive effect. The Panel has taken into account the principle of proportionality, balancing the interests of the public with those of the Registrant.

10. The Panel has concluded that in light of the seriousness of the allegation a sanction is required. Further, the Panel does not consider that a Caution Order is a proportionate response to the misconduct in this case.

11. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order, but concluded that because there was no information from the Registrant as to her present position and employment there were no suitable and workable conditions that could be drafted at the present time to sufficiently protect the public from the risks posed by repetition of the misconduct.

12. The Panel moved on to consider a Suspension Order. The Panel considered that the proven deficiencies in the Registrant’s practice were remediable. The Panel also considered that a Suspension Order would achieve public protection and meet the wider public interest of upholding professional standards and the reputation of the profession. However the matters found proved were serious and there was no evidence of any engagement from the Registrant or appreciation that she realised the gravity of her actions.

13. In view of that lack of engagement and lack of appreciation of the gravity of the matters found proved by the Registrant, the Panel seriously considered a Striking Off Order in this case. It bore in mind all of the matters before it and in particular the mitigating factors identified by the previous panel. Because taking account of those factors the Panel determined that it was appropriate to give the Registrant a further opportunity to demonstrate insight and begin the process of remediation. The Panel therefore concluded that a suspension order would be a sufficient, and an appropriate, sanction in this case.

14. The Panel determined that the appropriate duration of the Suspension Order would be 9 months. This period would provide the Registrant with an opportunity to engage with the process and to take steps to remediate the identified shortcomings in her practice. Towards the end of that 9 month period, the Suspension Order will be reviewed. That reviewing panel may be assisted by

• evidence of relevant training or other steps taken to remediate the Registrant’s recognition of proper professional boundaries

• compliance with the requirements for the proper completion and recording of assessments.

• A reflective log completed by the Registrant.

• Details of work which the Registrant has undertaken since her suspension

• An indication as to whether the Registrant wishes to return to practice as an Occupational Therapist.

Order

Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mrs Amy L Mawson for a further period of 9 months upon the expiry of the existing order.

Notes

The order imposed today will apply from 11 May 2017.

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 11 February 2018

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mrs Amy L Mawson

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
04/01/2018 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Struck off
31/03/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
13/04/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended