Mr Brian J Watkins

: Paramedic

: PA04016

: Review Hearing

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

: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Entry amended

Allegation

During the course of your employment as a Paramedic for South Western Ambulance Service, you:

 

1. On 14 January 2014, were found to have a controlled substance, namely Diazepam, not prescribed for you in your work locker.

 

2. On 14 January 2014, were found to have the following controlled and/or prescription only substances, which were not prescribed to you at your home address:

a) Diazepam

b) Not proved

c) Zolpidem Tartrate

 

3. Did not dispose and/or destruct of the controlled and/or prescription only substances referred to in paragraph 1 and 2.

 

4. On 01 May 2014, you received a police caution for possessing a Class C controlled drug.

 

5. The matters described in paragraphs 1-3 constitute misconduct.

 

6. By reason of that misconduct and caution your fitness to practice is impaired.

Finding

No information currently available

Order

Background:

1. At the relevant time, Mr Watkins was employed as a Band 5 Paramedic by the South Western Ambulance Service, an employment he had commenced in April 1989.

2. In January 2014, a Police investigation resulted in the discovery of various items, including drugs, in Mr Watkins’ locker at Wimborne Ambulance Station.

3. A search was subsequently made of Mr Watkins’ home and further drugs were found. The discovery of the drugs made by the Police was reported to the South Western Ambulance Service and an investigation was instigated by the Service. Mr Watkins offered explanations for the possession of the drugs. His account of those in his locker at work was that some years before their discovery he had been asked by the family of a deceased person to dispose of the medication prescribed to the deceased. He took the appropriate action in relation to all the drugs save for a small number of controlled drugs. At the time, he was handed them he had recently suffered an extremely distressing event in his personal life and had not been sleeping. He therefore decided to keep those drugs which he might be able to use himself to induce sleep, putting them in his work locker. Having done so he said he forgot about them. So far as the drugs at home were concerned, it was Mr Watkins’ case that he obtained them from his mother on a number of occasions because his mother thought he might benefit from taking them. His account varied as to whether drugs obtained from his mother were all stored at home, or whether some of them found their way to his work locker. These were also controlled drugs.

4. There was no evidence before the Panel that Mr Watkins has consumed any of these drugs, whether on duty or at any other time.

5. The panel at the final hearing found the facts proved and they amounted to misconduct. They imposed a Conditions of Practice order for nine months. This is the first substantive review of that order.


Decision:

6. Ms Ebanks for the HCPC detailed the background. She made no specific submissions as to the current impairment of the Registrant’s fitness to practise or as to possible sanction. The Registrant gave evidence. He had produced a number of current testimonials. He had complied with the Conditions of Practice order save that he had not sent to the HCPC a copy of his current personal Development Plan/ Continuous Professional Development (CPD). He explained that he was working for a private firm. He was semi-retired but he needed his registration to carry on working. He produced a list of the jobs he had been involved in whilst working for the firm and the treatment he had administered. He explained that he had kept his CPD up to date and had a portfolio but he had not understood that he should have to bring the documents with him to this hearing.

7. The Panel considered all of the material before it including the evidence given by the Registrant. It also considered the advice given by the Legal Assessor. It first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise was currently impaired. In making this decision the Panel noted the HCPTS’s practice note ‘finding that fitness to practise is impaired’. The Panel considered the separate elements, the ‘personal’ component: the current competence and behaviour of the individual registrant; and the ‘public’ component: the need to protect service users, declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and maintain public confidence in the profession.

8. Based on all of the information before it the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has complied with his order of Conditions of practice since the last hearing. The Panel considers that the matters found proved were capable of being remedied and that they have been remedied. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has shown sufficient insight, that there is no risk of repetition. The Panel therefore does not find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired on the basis of the ‘personal’ element.

9. The Panel then went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired because of the ‘public’ element. The matters found proved were serious and involved the improper handling of controlled drugs.  Nevertheless, there is no finding that the Registrant consumed any of the drugs. No patients were put at risk. In view of those facts and the length of time that has passed since the original allegation with no further complaints taking place, the Panel is satisfied that there is no danger to the public or patients. The Panel also considers that any member of the public knowing all of the facts in this case placed before this Panel today would not consider that a finding of impairment needs to be made in order the protect the public interest. The Panel therefore does not find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired on the basis of the ‘public’ element.

10. The Panel therefore find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is not currently impaired and revokes the current Conditions of Practice order with immediate effect.

The Registrar is directed to revoke the Conditions of Practice Order against the registration of Mr Brian J Watkins with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Brian J Watkins

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
30/06/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Entry amended