Miss Lindsay J Marshall

: Dietitian

: DT08473

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 18/08/2017 End: 17:00 18/08/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Voluntary Removal agreed

Allegation

Whilst employed as a Specialist Dietitian with County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust, you:

1. Between 13 May 2013 and 9 February 2015, in relation to approximately 134 clinical records, did not maintain patient records appropriately, in that on at least one occasion you:
a) Did not document all patient information on to the SystmOne (S1) computer system.
b) Delayed contact with patients.
c) Did not carry out visits and/or complete follow-up work.
d) Did not maintain complete dietetic records.
e) Delayed placing entries on to the S1 computer system within 48 hours of assessments being completed.
f). Did not maintain patient confidentiality, in that you did not store patient records securely.

2. Between 3 August 2015 and 7 December 2015, did not maintain patient records appropriately, in that you:
a) In relation to clinics carried out on 9 November 2015, 16 November 2015 and/or 23
November 2015, did not complete records and/or document assessments for approximately 15
patients.
b) Did not ensure that home visit proformas were present on records, on at least one occasion.
c) Did not ensure that letters were completed, on at least one occasion.
d) Did not organise follow-up for outpatients and/or follow the required procedure in relation
to patients who cancelled or failed to attend clinic, on at least one occasion.
e) Did not complete the diet history within your records, on at least one occasion.

3. The matters described in paragraphs 1 - 2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

4. By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practice is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters:

1. The Panel has been convened to consider an application that effect should be given to a Voluntary Removal Agreement (“VRA”).  The application is made jointly by the HCPC and the Registrant, Ms Lindsay Jane Marshall.

2. The Registrant has not attended the hearing.  A letter from her Solicitors dated 21 July 2017 which enclosed a letter from another professional person dated 19 July 2017 explained the reasons why she would not attend, and the Panel fully understood those reasons.  Ms Johnson attended the hearing on behalf of the Registrant.

Background to the HCPC’s fitness to practice proceedings

3. The Registrant qualified as a Dietitian in 2002.  She commenced employment as a Specialist Dietitian with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (“the Trust”) in 2013.  Her work involved working with elderly patients.

4. On 9 February 2015 the Trust suspended the Registrant from her employment.  The Registrant self-referred the fact of her suspension on 9 April 2015.  An internal Trust process resulted in the Registrant being issued with a final written warning that was to remain effective for 24 months.  The suspension that had commenced on 9 February 2015 was lifted with effect from 3 August 2015 and the Registrant returned to work.  Unfortunately, further problems occurred and a further investigation and internal Trust process followed.

5. The HCPC obtained copies of the information obtained as a result of the Trust’s investigations.  The Panel does not consider it is necessary to summarise the information provided by the Trust because it is sufficiently summarised in the particulars of the HCPC’s allegations.  Particular 1 relates to the shortcomings that resulted in the suspension in February 2015, particular 2 relates to those that occurred after the Registrant’s return to work in August 2015.

6. On 6 September 2016 the Investigating Committee found that there was a case to answer in relation to the following allegations:

Whilst employed as a Specialist Dietitian with County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust, you:

(1) Between 13 May 2013 and 9 February 2015, in relation to approximately 134 clinical records, did not maintain patient records appropriately, in that on at least one occasion you:

a. Did not document all patient information on the SystmOne (S1) computer system.

b. Delayed contact with patients.

c. Did not carry out visits and/or complete follow-up work.

d. Did not maintain complete dietetic records.

e. Delayed placing entries on the S1 system computer system within 48 hours of assessments being completed.

f. Did not maintain patient confidentiality in that you did not store patient records securely.

(2) Between 3 August 2015 and 7 December 2015, did not maintain patient records appropriately, in that you:

a. In relation to clinics carried out on 9 November 2015, 16 November 2015 and/or 23 November 2015, did not complete records and/or document assessments for approximately 15 patients.

b. Did not ensure that home visit proformas were present on records, on at least one occasion.

c. Did not ensure that letters were completed, on at least one occasion.

d. Did not organise follow-up for outpatients and/or follow the required procedure in relation to patients who cancelled or failed to attend clinic, on at least one occasion.

e. Did not complete the diet history within your records, on at least one occasion.

(3) The matters described in paragraphs 1 – 2 constitute misconduct and/or lack of competence.

(4) By reason of your misconduct and/or lack of competence, your fitness to practise is impaired.

7. As early as January 2017, before there had been any attempt to schedule a final hearing of the allegations, the Registrant’s Solicitor contacted the HCPC to discuss the possibility of the Registrant applying for voluntary removal from the HCPC Register.  After consideration, the HCPC agreed that it was an appropriate case for voluntary removal to be considered by a Panel. 

The VRA application

8. The Panel has seen copies of the completed VRA.

9. The Panel has approached the decision it is required to make on this application by, first, being satisfied that the Registrant does indeed wish her name to be removed from the HCPC Register, and, secondly, if she does, to be satisfied that it is in the public interest that she should be permitted to do so.  Although the HCPC is satisfied that voluntary removal from the HCPC Register is appropriate in this case, these are matters on which the Panel is required to exercise its independent judgement.

10. As to the first consideration, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has a genuine and settled desire for her name to be removed from the HCPC Register.  In particular:

• It is reassuring that the Registrant has had the benefit of legal representation, and, as has already been mentioned, it was a telephone call from the Registrant’s Solicitors nearly six months ago that first raised the issue of voluntary removal.  On 28 March 2017, some two months after the initial contact concerning voluntary removal, the Registrant’s Solicitor sent an email to the HCPC stating that he had spoken to the Registrant about voluntary removal and that she had understood the process, and he requested that she be sent the formal agreement.  Finally, the Solicitor communicated with the HCPC on 21 July 2017 in the terms mentioned in relation to the Registrant’s absence from the hearing.  It is clear that the Solicitor understood that the hearing today was for the VRA to be considered.

• The terms of the VRA, signed by the Registrant and independently witnessed, clearly request removal from the HCPC Register.

• The Registrant has been represented at the hearing by Ms Johnson.

11. As to the public interest consideration, the Panel is of the view that there are two distinct issues.  One is whether giving effect to the VRA will offer adequate protection from a practitioner whose fitness to practise is allegedly impaired.  The other is whether there is a public interest in not permitting a final hearing in public to be side-stepped.  As to these considerations, the Panel is satisfied that the public interest would be served by giving effect to the VRA for the following reasons:

• No sanction that could be imposed if the case were to proceed in the ordinary way to a final hearing could afford greater protection than the Registrant’s name being removed from the HCPC Register.

• The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant has admitted the allegations made against her, and so if at some time it is necessary to consider an application for re-admission to the HCPC Register, the admitted allegations could be considered in the context of such an application.

• The Panel does not believe that the legitimate public interest in fitness to practise issues concerning health professionals would be defeated by permitting the matter to be resolved without a public hearing.

12. For all these reasons the conclusion of the Panel is that the VRA should be allowed to take effect.  The Panel Chair will therefore sign the Notice of Withdrawal.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to remove the name of Lindsay J Marshall  from the Register with immediate effect.

Notes

No notes available

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Miss Lindsay J Marshall

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
18/08/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Voluntary Removal agreed