Mr Desmond Estephane

: Biomedical scientist

: BS46554

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 06/04/2017 End: 12:30 06/04/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Conditions of Practice


Allegation (as amended):


1. On 12 September 1995 at Thames Magistrates Court you were convicted of driving whilst disqualified contrary to section 103(1) (b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.


2. You failed to declare the conviction at paragraph 1 on your application for registration to the Health and Care Professions Council. [Note: Mr Estephane was given a conditional discharge for this offence and his failure to disclose this matter was found to be dishonest]


3. You did not advise the following organisations that (i) on 2 April 2013* at Stratford Magistrates’ Court you had been found guilty of common assault and/or (ii) you were appealing the conviction:


a. Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS University Hospitals
b. Health and Care Professions Council

[Note: the date of conviction was in fact 2012 and the conviction was overturned on appeal]


4. Your actions described in paragraphs 3 were dishonest.


5. On 14 March 2011 you made discriminatory remarks to a colleague about AB, another colleague at Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS University Hospitals in that you said or used words to effect that:


a. you were fed up of working with disabled people and that AB cannot streak plates;
b. You’ve given me two disabled people, what do you expect?


6. The matters set out in paragraphs 2 - 5 constitute misconduct.


7. By reason of your conviction and/or misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.


Facts Proved: 1, 2, 3(i) only, 4 (only in respect of particulars 3), 5, 6, 7


Facts Not Proved: 3(ii)*, 4(in respect of particular 2)


Grounds: Misconduct


Fitness to Practise Impaired: Yes


Sanction: 12 months Suspension Order


* Note that the original Panel had found no case to answer in relation to 3(ii)(a)(b).



1. The Registrant started work as a Band 6 Biomedical Scientist with the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University NHS Trust (the Trust) on 17 November 2008. On March 2011 the Registrant made discriminatory remarks about a work colleague and was issued with a final written warning after an internal disciplinary hearing.  On 27 October 2011 the Registrant was arrested following an alleged assault on his partner.  He was suspended from his employment in March 2012. On 2 April 2012 he was convicted of common assault and sentenced to a Community Order. He failed to inform his manager of the conviction when interviewed at work on 5 April 2012.  It should be noted that this conviction was subsequently overturned on appeal to the Crown Court in August 2012.

2. The Registrant appeared before the Conduct and Competence Committee of the HCPC at a Fitness to Practise hearing on 9 September 2013. As indicated in the particulars of the Allegation above, he was found to have made discriminatory remarks to a colleague in 2011 and to have dishonestly failed to declare his conviction for assault in 2012 to his employer or the HCPC.  He was also found to have failed to declare a conviction, imposed in 1995 for driving whilst disqualified, when originally applying for HCPC registration, although this failure was not found to have been dishonest. It should be noted that the Registrant also successfully appealed against this conviction and that he has no convictions of any kind.

3. The panel at the final hearing found that his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his misconduct, arising from the discriminatory remarks and failures to declare convictions, and imposed a Suspension Order of 12 months, which came into force on 5 March 2014. The Order was extended by a further 6 months by the first Review panel on 2 February 2015.

4. The second Review panel on 6 August 2015 was impressed by evidence of the Registrant’s remorse and insight into the impact of his language on others.  The Registrant was therefore made subject to a Conditions of Practice Order of 12 months, which would have enabled the Registrant to return to work as a Biomedical Scientist under supervision with an obligation to notify the HCPC of his employment and the name of his supervisor.

5. The third Review panel replaced that Order on 5 August 2016 with the current Conditions of Practice Order, which was in the following terms:-

1. You must promptly inform the HCPC of the identity of your employer if you take up work as a Biomedical Scientist and inform the HCPC of the name and registration number of a supervisor within 14 days of their being appointed;

2. You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer;

3. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:
A. Any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work;
B. Any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and
C. Any prospective employer (at the time of application);

4. You must produce a portfolio for a future review panel that demonstrates relevant continuing professional development including: microbiology updates; recent developments in analytical procedures, technology and anti-biotic sensitivities; health and safety in the laboratory; UKAS/ISO 15189 standards; laboratory governance and quality assurance;

5. You must work with a supervisor who is a registered Biomedical Scientist to formulate a Personal Development Plan (PDP) designed to address the fact that you have been out of practice in excess of 12 months and within 3 months of starting your employment you must forward a copy of the PDP to the HCPC:

6. You must meet with your supervisor on a monthly basis to consider your progress in achieving the aims set out in your PDP and you must provide a report from your supervisor to the HCPC on your progress towards achieving the aims set out in your PDP.  This information must be provided to the HCPC at least 14 days before any review hearing.

6. This is now the fourth review.  A substantive review of an order is a two stage process. The first task of the Panel is to decide whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired and if so, to then consider what, if any, sanction should be imposed upon his registration. The Panel is aware of its powers to extend, revoke or vary the sanction that is currently in place.  

7. Mr Claughton for the HCPC reminded the Panel of the history of the case and of their powers as to extending, continuing, varying or revoking the order or imposing another order. Mr Claughton set out a background history of past correspondence in which the Registrant had contested previous findings in appeal and judicial review proceedings.

8. The Registrant explained the work that he had done to update his professional knowledge in order to meet the requirements of condition 4 of the Conditions of Practice Order and he produced a portfolio of documents for the Panel to examine. He had attended a course in January 2017.  He had tried to find employment as a Biomedical Scientist, but he had been unsuccessful because potential employers were discouraged by the fact that he was subject to a finding of misconduct relating to his failure to disclose convictions and an HCPC Conditions of Practice Order with stringent terms.  The Panel retired to consider the portfolio of documents that had been supplied by the Registrant. 

9. The Panel then reconvened to hear further submissions and to seek clarification of various points.  The Registrant explained that he had applied for agency and permanent jobs in his field, although not for voluntary work.  There were various impediments to returning to work.  He found that some employers were reluctant to recruit him either as a laboratory medical assistant or in other unskilled hospital occupations because he was overqualified.  He submitted that the present conditions imposed onerous supervision obligations on any prospective employer and that they hindered his prospects of obtaining agency work.  Prospective employers had also gained the false impression that he still had criminal convictions because of the content of the HCPC web pages reporting the original decision in 2013.

10. The Registrant had not worked in any clinical setting and had not worked in any other occupation in the last year.  He had attended a professional training course on 26 January 2017.  He produced a letter from the IBMS (Institute of Biomedical Science) dated 1 November 2016 that confirmed that he had been readmitted as a “Licentiate” and could apply to upgrade to full membership if and when his HCPC conditions are lifted.

11. On behalf of the HCPC, Mr Claughton submitted that there were continuing concerns about the Registrant’s fitness to practise, principally that he had not actually worked as a Biomedical Scientist for the past 3-4 years, and that his fitness to practise remained impaired because he lacked the necessary professional up-to-date experience.  Whilst maintaining that the terms of the present Order were reasonable, he accepted that they have hindered the Registrant in finding work. He asked the Panel to consider whether any practical purpose was served by continuing with further reviews after almost four years with little progress and invited the Panel to consider striking the Registrant from the register.

12. The Panel then heard submissions on behalf of the Registrant.  He expressed a continuing sense of grievance at the original Panel’s findings and had to be reminded that this hearing concerned his current impairment and future prospects of returning to his profession.  He asked the Panel to remove the more onerous conditions, in particular the fifth and sixth conditions that required a future employer to engage in close supervision.  He strongly argued against the sanction of striking off.


13. In reaching its decision, the Panel has considered all the relevant material, including submissions, and had regard to the Indicative Sanctions Policy of the HCPC and the necessity for proportionality.

14. The Panel considered the submissions and the evidence from the Registrant and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.   The Panel had firmly in mind that the purpose of this hearing was to conduct a thorough appraisal of the Registrant’s current fitness to practise, including an assessment of future risk, and that this was not a rehearing of the facts of the original case.  

15. The Panel had some sympathy with the Registrant’s current predicament, not least because most of the findings against him related to his failure to declare convictions that had been successfully appealed, and because he has since been placed in a position in which others erroneously think that he still has criminal convictions. The Panel also accepted that onerous supervision obligations had made it difficult for the Registrant to find employment in his profession. It was noted that a previous panel had found that he had demonstrated remorse and insight in relation to his misconduct. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has no convictions and has addressed the original reasons for his misconduct.

16. The Registrant is also entitled to credit for producing a comprehensive portfolio, for gaining readmission on the IBMS register and for having made efforts to gain employment. The Panel was nonetheless concerned that the Registrant has not achieved the level of retraining and practice in his profession that is required for him to safely return to work. The Panel found that the Registrant’s portfolio did not assist the Panel as to what he had actually learned and how he could progress. There was no independent verification of what he had done.  Members of the public would remain at risk if he were permitted to return to unrestricted practice after a gap of almost four years. Therefore, his fitness to practise remains impaired at this stage.

17. The Panel considered that the options of taking no action or imposing a Caution Order were not appropriate to address the level of risk in this case.  The current Conditions of Practice Order was no longer realistically workable, because the Registrant was not employed as a Biomedical Scientist and the existence of the order in its current form made obtaining such employment too difficult in his case.  The Panel therefore decided to remove the more onerous supervision conditions and to replace them with a more straightforward requirement that the Registrant submitted evidence from any future employer of his competence and progress in advance of the next review hearing.

18. The imposition of a more punitive sanction is unnecessary and disproportionate on this occasion, in view of the efforts that the Registrant has made to comply with the Conditions of Practice Order since the last hearing. However, the Registrant should be aware that all options, including striking-off, will be available to a future reviewing panel.


ORDER: The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register to show that for a period of 9 months, you (Mr Desmond Estephane) must comply with the following Conditions of Practice:

1. You must promptly inform the HCPC of the identity of your employer if you take up work as a Biomedical Scientist;

2. You must inform the following parties that your registration is subject to these conditions:
A. Any organisation or person employing or contracting with you to undertake professional work;
B. Any agency you are registered with or apply to be registered with (at the time of application); and
C. Any prospective employer (at the time of application);

3. You must provide evidence of continuing professional development – to include recent developments in analytical procedures, technology and anti-biotic sensitivities; health and safety in the laboratory; UKAS/ISO 15189 standards as they relate to your day to day practice.  The evidence should be signed, dated, verified and include a reflective piece on your learning and how you have translated the theory into practice.

4. You must provide a professional reference from your future line manager or employer, which demonstrates your conduct and competence in the workplace, your training and development, and which includes copies of your supervision records.


The Order imposed today will apply from 05 May 2017.

This Order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 05 February 2018.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Desmond Estephane

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
20/12/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice
06/04/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Conditions of Practice