Mr Onovughakpor E Oseruvwoja
Allegation (as proved at Final Hearing on 17 October 2013):
During the course of your employment as a Biomedical Scientist with Warrington and
Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, between June 2009 and January 2012, you:
1) Did not demonstrate required competency level on:
a) Blood Culture bench;
b) Wound bench;
c) Sputum bench;
d) Faeces bench;
e) Urine bench;
f) Virology bench;
g) Plate reading bench;
h) Gram stains;
i) Specimen processing;
2) Did not demonstrate appropriate time management skills;
3) Did not prioritise tasks appropriately;
4) Did not demonstrate an appropriate awareness of Health and Safety issues;
5) The matters outlined in paragraphs 1 – 4 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence; and
6) By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence your fitness to practise is impaired.
1. The Registrant was employed as a Band 5 Biomedical Scientist (BMS) with the Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) in the Microbiology Department from June 2009. This was his first post as a qualified BMS, after some years of study at degree level. He was employed at the Trust from June 2009 until January 2012, when he was dismissed by the Trust. The Registrant was alleged to have demonstrated severe shortfalls in his skills and knowledge as a BMS that were not rectified by over 2 years of supervision and training.
2. The Trust reported the matter to the HCPC. A Final Hearing took place on dates between 8 to 12 July 2013 and 15 to 17 October 2013.
3. All of the facts in the allegation were found proved and the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his misconduct, in that he breached fundamental HCPC Standards. During the course of its determination, the panel determined that the facts found proved demonstrated that the Registrant fell significantly below the basic level of BMS practice, spanning all areas of clinical bench work in the laboratory, time management and health and safety, over a considerable period of time. The errors identified had the potential to put patients at risk and related to a variety of BMS duties and responsibilities. It was also determined that these constituted several serious fundamental breaches of the Standards of the profession. A lack of insight was found. In the view of that panel, the fact that the Trust spent over two years trying to help and remediate the Registrant without success indicated that the Registrant was resistant to change. It concluded that the conduct was remediable but that there remained a risk of repetition. That panel determined that an appropriate and proportionate sanction was to impose a Suspension Order of 12 months’ duration.
4. That order was reviewed on 18 February 2016. The reviewing panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired and that the public would not be protected if the Registrant were to be permitted to return to unrestricted practice. That panel considered that, in the absence of evidence that the Registrant had developed sufficient insight into his failings and had taken action to remedy those failings, there remained a risk of repetition and therefore a risk to the public. That panel considered the question of sanction and determined that a proportionate and sufficient order to make was that the existing Suspension Order shall be extended for a further period of 12 months. This would give the Registrant the required time to develop his insight and take remedial action. That panel was persuaded that the Registrant would engage with the process and with a future review. It considered that the Registrant had begun to develop insight into his current fitness to practise and was likely to take remedial steps in the future. In those circumstances, it considered that a Striking Off Order would be disproportionate.
5. That panel’s expectation was that the Registrant would take the opportunity to engage with the regulatory process and provide information to a future reviewing panel. That panel suggested that, amongst anything else he considers relevant, he should submit:
a) Evidence of time in a medical laboratory which has developed his knowledge and experience in a role that does not require HCPC registration as a BMS. Such evidence should ideally be supported by evidence or testimony from a HCPC registered practitioner.
b) Any other testimonials from those who have worked with the Registrant addressing the findings of the previous panel.
c) Evidence of steps taken to learn and remedy the deficiencies found by the previous panel.
d) Evidence of CPD activity which satisfies the HCPC Return to Practice.
e) A concise essay addressing in turn each of the past failings and clearly demonstrating what learning has taken place and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that such shortcomings will not be repeated in the future.
f) Furthermore, the Registrant should attend the next Review to demonstrate his commitment, deal with any residual issues and to give evidence.
6. Ms Stark on behalf of the HCPC submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired today. She said that he had made little or no effort to remediate any of the deficiencies in his practice identified by the original panel and asked for a Striking Off Order.
7. The Registrant gave evidence and made submissions. He maintained that he had been unable to comply with any of the requests made by the previous reviewing panel. He accepted that his fitness to practise was impaired today because he was unable to keep his professional knowledge up to date and current. He did not accept that a striking off order was appropriate in his case.
8. In reaching its decision, this Panel has accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and exercised the principle of proportionality. It has also had regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy.
9. The Panel considered that it was clear from the evidence given by the Registrant that he does not accept the findings of the Final Hearing held in October 2013. He does not accept that his fitness to practise was impaired at that time, although he does accept that his fitness to practise is currently impaired due to the fact that he has now been out of practice for a considerable time.
10. As the Registrant continues to deny any of the findings identified at the Final Hearing, he has not taken any significant steps to remediate them.
11. With the exception of applying for a number of roles working in a laboratory, he has not provided any evidence that he has considered and responded to the suggestions for remediation put forward by the reviewing panel in February 2016.
12. In light of the available evidence and submissions, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired and that the public would not be protected if the Registrant were to be permitted to return to unrestricted practice. The Panel considered that, in the absence of evidence that the Registrant has developed sufficient insight into his failings and has taken action to remedy these failings, there remains a risk of repetition and therefore a risk to the public.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. The Panel has concluded that in the light of the seriousness of the allegation a sanction is required. Further, the Panel does not consider that a Caution Order or mediation is a proportionate response to the misconduct in this case.
16. The Panel has concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order is not workable practicable nor proportionate in this case.
17. The Panel then went on to consider whether to continue or renew the current period of suspension. It carefully considered the Registrant’s evidence and what had happened since the order of suspension had first been imposed. The Panel concluded that he has shown a continuing lack of insight and made little or no efforts of remediation over a lengthy period of time since the original finding of impairment and order of suspension. In these circumstances the Panel can see no purpose in the further extension of a Suspension Order. The Registrant has not changed his position since October 2013. At that hearing the panel identified that ‘his approach to his errors, his former employer, his practise and to this hearing was characterised by aggression, arrogance and allegations of conspiracy by the Trust.
18. The Registrant’s position remains the same today. In these circumstances, because of his ongoing refusal to recognise his shortcomings, there remains a high risk of repetition and a real risk of significant harm to the public.
19. The Panel paid attention to the Indicative Sanctions policy (September 2015) Paragraph 41.
‘Striking off should be used where there is no other way to protect the public, for example, where there is a lack of insight, continuing problems or denial. A registrant’s inability or unwillingness to resolve matters will suggest that a lower sanction may not be appropriate.’
20. For all of the above the Panel has determined to impose a Striking Off Order.
ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to strike the name Onovughakpor Oseruvwoja from the Register with immediate effect.
History of Hearings for Mr Onovughakpor E Oseruvwoja
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|03/04/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Struck off|
|24/02/2017||Conduct and Competence Committee||Review Hearing||Suspended|