Mr Christopher Byrne
1. The Registrant is a paramedic. At the material times he was employed by the North West Ambulance Service.
2. On 9 March 2017 the Registrant referred himself to the HCPC following his dismissal on 28 February 2017 from his employment for reasons
related to his capability.
3. The Registrant commenced his employment as a Paramedic on 17 October 2016 having gained his qualification through an Open University
course. He was provided with one to one support from a senior Paramedic to ensure he received a three month period of clinical supervision. A training needs assessment at the end of this period
concluded that the Registrant did not meet the required standards for a new entrant Emergency Medical Technician and would take a minimum
of two years to reach that standard with ongoing support and monitoring. The Registrant’s assessor noted that there was no certainty that at the
end of that period of support and monitoring he would achieve the necessary level of competence. The Registrant’s employment was terminated because he was unable to fulfil the requirements of the role he was employed to do as a result of gaps in his theoretical and practical knowledge and the clinical risk which his employer deemed him to
4. On behalf of the HCPC, Ms Brzezina noted that the Registrant’s employer had concerns relating to the Registrant’s practical and theoretical knowledge. She submitted that there was very limited evidence that the Registrant had addressed these since the end of his employment. Ms Brzezina also drew the Tribunal’s attention to a clinical
incident which occurred during the Registrant’s employment when he was alleged to have administered a controlled drug without supervision
and without performing necessary blood pressure checks.
5. Ms Brzezina submitted that in the light of the information before it, the Panel could not be satisfied that the Registrant could work safely and
autonomously as a Paramedic in unrestricted practice.
6. Ms Brzezina submitted that an interim order is necessary for the protection of the public and is otherwise in the public interest. She submitted that the reputation of the profession would be significantly damaged if the Registrant were allowed to continue in unrestricted practice. She suggested that an interim Conditions of Practice Order would be a proportionate order in all the circumstances of this case.
7. On behalf of the Registrant, Mr Thomas, reminded the Panel that the Registrant had referred himself to the HCPC. Mr Thomas submitted that
the Registrant was aware of his limitations, had proactively drawn them to the attention of his then employer and had engaged appropriately with
8. Mr Thomas drew the Panel’s attention to positive references provided by the Registrant’s employers. He told the Panel that the Registrant currently works as a Paramedic for a private ambulance service which covers large scale outdoor public events. He said that the Registrant had worked without incident since his dismissal by the North West Ambulance Service.
9. Mr Thomas submitted that the Registrant had taken significant steps to address areas of concern in his theoretical and clinical knowledge.
10. Mr Thomas submitted that if the Panel considered that an interim order was necessary then the order should be an interim Conditions of
Practice Order which restricted the Registrant’s work as a Paramedic in an emergency response role and which required him to work under supervision when carrying out emergency response duties.
11. The Panel carefully considered the submissions made on behalf of the HCPC, the further information which the Registrant provided and the
submissions made on his behalf. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel has reminded itself that it is not a fact finding
tribunal. Its task is to make an assessment of the risk, if any, posed by the Registrant if he is permitted to continue in unrestricted practice based
on the information before it.
12. In reaching its decision the Panel has sought to balance the interests of the Registrant with the public interest. It reminds itself that an interim
order of any kind is a draconian measure.
13. Evidence from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) gives information to suggest that there are serious concerns regarding the Registrant’s competence. The information from the Registrant and the submissions of his representative do address some of the concerns identified by NWAS, however does not necessarily address the practical
application of the Registrant’s knowledge in a clinical setting.
14. The Panel notes that the Registrant was signed off as competent by the Open University and that there is an email from his mentor attesting to
this and that in his mentor’s view at the time of qualifying the Registrant was competent.
15. There are references from representatives of private ambulance services that the Registrant has worked for since the issues with NWAS occurred. These references speak positively about the Registrant’s work with these organisations, however they do not make any specific reference to the Registrant’s competence in dealing with emergency situations or to the specific weaknesses identified in the NWAS skills gap analysis. Overall the Panel finds that the NWAS information is credible and raises serious concerns.
16. The Panel notes that the Registrant fully engaged with NWAS and the HCPC and acknowledged his lack of clinical experience when he joined NWAS. He has shown insight into the issues of concern and has undertaken significant amounts of Continuing Professional Development
17. In the Panel’s view the Registrant, if permitted to remain in unrestricted practice, may pose a risk to the public. The information before the Panel
is credible, comprehensive and in the Panel’s view there is a real risk of harm occurring if the Registrant were allowed to practice unrestricted.
Hence there is an ongoing risk to service users from the Registrant’s serious lack of professional skills and knowledge.
18. Given the serious concerns raised, in the Panel’s view, a reasonable and fully informed member of the public would be concerned if an order were
not imposed and this would present a risk in relation to maintaining public confidence in the Profession and the regulatory process. Therefore an order is necessary on the grounds of public protection and otherwise in the public interest.
19. The Panel then went on to consider whether suitable conditions of practice could be formulated. In the Panel’s view such conditions could be crafted. The Panel is satisfied that an interim Suspension order would be disproportionate and deprive the Registrant of the opportunity to improve his clinical practice. The Panel has identified the following interim Conditions of Practice which it is satisfied are realistic, workable and verifiable. An 18 month order is best placed to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the profession.
No information currently available
Order: The Registrar is directed to annotate the Register on an interim basis to show that, for a period of 18 months, you, Mr Christopher Byrne, must comply with the following conditions of practice:
1. You must not carry out work as a paramedic unless directly supervised by a:
A. Paramedic registered by the Health and Care Professions Council.
B. Nurse or Midwife registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council
C. Medical Practitioner registered by the General Medical Council.
2. In any case you must not undertake any procedure that is not within the scope of practice of your supervisor.
3. You must maintain a record of every case where you have undertaken work as a Paramedic which must be signed by your
Supervisor and you must:
A. provide a copy of these records to the HCPC at least 14 days prior to this interim order being reviewed, or confirm that there have been no such cases during that period; and
B. make those records available for inspection at all reasonable times by any person authorised to act on behalf of the HCPC.
4. You must place yourself and remain under the supervision of a workplace supervisor registered by the HCPC or other appropriate statutory regulator and supply details of your supervisor to the HCPC within 14 days of the Operative Date. You must attend upon that supervisor as required and follow their advice and
5. You must promptly inform the HCPC if you cease to be employed by your current employer or take up any other or further employment.
6. You must promptly inform the HCPC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against you by your employer.
7. 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 your application).
History of Hearings for Mr Christopher Byrne
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|13/10/2017||Investigating committee||Interim Order Application||Interim Conditions of Practice|