Mr Colin G Towner
During the course of your employment as an Occupational Therapist at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust:
1. On 5 July 2013, you did not conduct risk assessments prior to taking 5 vulnerable people who use services (A, B, C, D and E) on a walk.
2. Your actions in 1 above, placed service users at risk.
3. On or around 24 May 2013, following a home assessment with Service User F you did not complete an adequate report in that:
(a) There was no background history recorded;
(b) Information relating to agencies involved with the service user was not recorded;
(c) Not proved;
(d) The risks recorded did not adequately reflect the service user’s situation;
(e) An assessment of the service user’s capacity was not recorded;
(f) Referral and/or liaison with other agencies were not recorded.
4. On or around 10 July, 2013 you did not complete an adequate washing and dressing assessment report in respect of Service User G in that:
(a) The report was completed on the incorrect template document;
(b) There was no clinical formulation recorded;
(c) The risks recorded were inadequate;
(d) There were no recommendations recorded.
5. Your actions described in paragraphs 1-4 amount to misconduct and/or lack of competence.
6. By reason of that misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.
4.From February 2012, the Registrant was working as a Band 5 Occupational Therapist in the Meadows 24/7 Assessment Treatment Unit within the Surrey Health Community Mental Health Teams.
5. On 5 July 2013, the Registrant led a walk, involving five service users who were in-patients at the Meadows. He had not conducted risk assessments prior to the walk. As such, he placed the service users, who were all vulnerable people, at risk.
6. Furthermore, there were a number of failures to make records in relation to this episode. For instance, no background history was recorded nor was there any record of the capacity of the service users. Referral and/or liaison with other agents were not recorded either.
7. On or around 10 July 2013, the Registrant failed to complete an adequate washing and dressing assessment report in respect of service user G. The report was on the wrong template, there was no record of any clinical formulation, the risks recorded were ‘woefully inadequate’ (according to the determination of the previous panel) and no recommendation was recorded.
8. The Registrant admitted that these failures amounted to a lack of competence and the previous panel found that to be well founded.
9. The sanction imposed was the imposition of a Suspension Order for 12 months, on the grounds of public protection and the wider public interest.
10. That panel expressed the view that such a sanction would provide the Registrant with the maximum time to reflect on his shortcomings and would enable him to decide whether he wishes to return to the profession of Occupational Therapy.
11. That same panel, in its determination, added that, if the Registrant did desire to return to practice, it might be of assistance to any reviewing panel if he were able to attend the review and provide it with information relating to his insight, a plan of how he would hope to remediate his deficiencies, evidence of Continuing Professional Development and any references and testimonials to shed light upon his ability to identify and manage risks.
12. There has been no communication to the HCPC from the Registrant since the last review. As a result, there is no information at all as to what, if anything, he is currently engaged in doing. Indeed, the Registrant wrote to the HCPC on 14 September 2015 indicating that he did ‘not intend to work in this profession again.’
13.Ms Nadarajah submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise remains impaired and that the appropriate course for the Panel now to adopt would be to extend the suspension order for a further 12 months, on the grounds of public protection and the public interest.
14. There were no representations from the Registrant who is not engaging with his regulator.
15. The Panel noted that the Registrant has failed to abide by the advice provided at the Final Hearing to appear today in person and to give information to this Panel about what he is now doing.
16. There has been no material change in circumstances over the past twelve months and a complete absence of any evidence of remediation by the Registrant or confirmation that he is keeping his skills up to date. In the view of the Panel, the risk of harm to service users remains and the fitness to practise of the Registrant is still impaired.
17. In considering what sanction to impose today, the Panel adopted the views of the previous panel in determining that taking no action or imposing a Caution Order would be wholly inappropriate. Furthermore, it considered that imposing a Conditions of Practice Order would be equally inappropriate and unworkable and that the only proportionate sanction to impose now is to extend the currency of the Suspension Order for a further twelve months.
18. The Panel want the Registrant to note that, after a two year suspension order has run its course, a reviewing panel would be able, if felt appropriate, to make a striking off order.
Order: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Colin G Towner for a further period of 12 months on the expiry of the existing order.
The order imposed today will apply from 5 July 2017. This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 4 July 2018.