Mr Clayton R Blight

: Paramedic

: PA05666

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 30/10/2017 End: 17:00 01/11/2017

: Park Plaza Cardiff, Greyfriars Road, Cardiff, CF10 3AL

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

Allegation (As Amended):

Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as a
Paramedic, you:

1. Posted inappropriate and/or offensive images and/or messages, including:

a) post on Facebook which stated, 'Me manage, I can't even wipe my own arse yet. Never mind there's plenty of cooks for the books. Fancy a munch off Boss? Slurp!';

b) post on Facebook which stated, 'Keep Calm, worthless bunch of lying, snidy, balding, inexperienced, uneducated, backstabbing, spineless, arse kissing, nepotistic, gutless, false, pretnenders (sic) and evil people';

c) post on Facebook which stated, 'I find it amazing how muppet's work so well with some-one's hand up their arse controlling them';

d) post on Facebook which stated, 'clown shoes. Same initials as some useless fat c+++ I used to work with';

e) post on Facebook which stated, 'Dance little puppet...dance'...'Yes Boss.. anything you say';

f) post on Facebook which stated, 'We've played Catchphrase, what about 'Guess Who'. Who are these pair of ****ends?';

g) post on Facebook which stated, 'It is him isn't it. Small, bald, squaky (sic) and out of his league. Never mind, Ollie will look after you. You might get a medal for doing F*** all for the last 30 years! What a pair of moby's';

h) post on Facebook which stated, 'Hey fat bloke, try a syrup, seems to be working for trump';

i) post on Facebook about threadworms which stated, 'They don't always cause symptoms, but people often experience itchiness around their bottom, baldness, weight gain and sever greying of the hair. In extreme circumstances some patients have been seen to walk like a penguin. If you feel something crawling up your arse....please contact your GP or buy a head lamp'.

(j) a post on Facebook which stated, 'You are fat, bald, hopelessly unqualified at your job and not respected by any of your peers. How do you shave in the morning and look yourself in your fat face in the mirror';

(k) a post on Facebook which stated 'Am I getting to you. Whom ever your mole is deserves all that is coming to you. You have up'd the stakes mon brav. You are skating on very thin ice my pedigree chum and I will be  underneath when it breaks'.

2. The matters set out in paragraph 1 constitute misconduct.

3. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Proceeding in Absence:


1. In reaching its decision on proceeding in absence, the Panel took into account the submission of Mr Ferson, the Legal Assessor’s advice and the HCPTS Practice Note on Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant.

2. The Panel determined to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. The Registrant was aware of this hearing and the HCPC took all reasonable steps to ensure he attended, by ensuring good service of the Notice of Hearing. Despite having sent to the HCPC a consent for his earlier written submissions to be used in this hearing, the Registrant did not request an adjournment and the Panel concluded that if there was to be an adjournment, it would be highly unlikely that the Registrant would attend in any event. By contrast, the HCPC witness is ready and able to proceed immediately.

3. Therefore, for these reasons, it is the Panel’s decision that the wider public interest in the expeditious disposal of this case outweighs any interest of the Registrant, which, in any event, can be met by the Panel and the Legal Assessor to ensure the proceedings are fair.

Amended Charge:

4. Although this is the second amendment of the Allegation, the first having taken place at the earlier Investigation Committee stage on 19 December 2016, the Panel concluded that the Registrant had not taken any opportunity to object to this amendment, despite having been served with notice of the proposed amendment on 16 February 2017 and having been sent a copy of the witness statement and exhibits’ bundle on 11 September 2017. Furthermore, in the Panel’s judgement, the amendment sought today properly reflects the evidence and is fair and not prejudicial to the Registrant.

Private:

5. Insofar as evidence may impinge on the private and family life of the Registrant, and pursuant to Rule 10 (1)(a) of the HCPC’s procedure Rules, the Panel determined that it will permit any part of the hearing to go into private session should there be any reference to confidential matters relating to the Registrant, such as his health.

Background:

6. The Registrant commenced employment as a Paramedic with the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (the Trust) in 1986. By April 2014 he had become a supervisor with the Special Operations Response Team (SORT).

7. By April 2014, the Registrant was managed by CS, who was then Head of Operations for the Trust’s Resilience and Specialist Operations. A Special Operations Manager recruitment process took place and the Registrant applied for this, but was unsuccessful. BC was promoted instead and became the Registrant’s manager from  June 2014.

8. It was the HCPC’s case, based on CS’s evidence, that there came a time when it was reported to CS by some staff members who were some of the Registrant’s friends on Facebook that the Registrant allegedly had posted comments on Facebook, which CS might wish to see. CS took the view that those posts, not the subject of this Allegation, were derogatory comments about CS. CS spoke to the Registrant about this on 3 June 2014 and the Registrant denied that the posts related to CS.

9. CS asked the staff members concerned to bring any further posts by the Registrant involving CS, and to report them to him if they thought that he needed to be aware of them. There followed more reports to CS by the same staff members. CS read the live Facebook feeds shown to him by the staff members and asked them to provide him with a screenshot of each one. These form the Exhibits in this case. CS formed the view that the posts related to himself and BC and were offensive, unprofessional and inappropriate. CS stated in his written witness statement that the offensive postings by the Registrant, in CS’ opinion, were aimed at CS and BC and continued after the Registrant left the Trust in April 2016.

10. The Panel heard evidence from CS, now an Area Manager with the Trust. It also took into account Mr Fersons’s submission and it accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice. The Panel also read the Registrant’s written documentation he had prepared for the Investigating Committee, which he gave his consent to being used in this hearing.

11. The Panel used the civil standard of proof for its decisions on the facts and it exercised the principle of proportionality for its decisions on the Grounds and on Impairment.

Decisions on the Facts:


12. The Panel accepted that witness CS had refreshed his memory between the first and second day of this hearing from his file note dated 29 May 2014 and 3 June 2014 of his discussion with the Registrant which took place on 3 June 2014. The Panel accepted that CS had made an error in his witness statement in two paragraphs (7 and 10) and in oral evidence on the first day of the hearing when he referred to the Registrant not being promoted due to, inter alia, not being registered as a Paramedic at the time of the job applications and interviews. The Panel accepted his evidence today, the second day of the hearing, when he was re-called to clarify this point. The Panel concluded that his error was a genuine mistake.

13. Overall, having considered CS’s demeanour and the content of his oral and written evidence, the Panel concluded that CS was an honest and straightforward witness. The Panel formed the view that he genuinely believed that the Registrant’s posts, except for one (see below in Facts), were aimed at him and that they had the effect of causing him considerable upset and some degree of fear. The Panel concluded that he had felt genuinely victimised by the Registrant’s posts and that Exhibit 4, with its reference to his own initials, was where, for him, as CS stated in his evidence, “the line was crossed”. Although the Panel accepted that some of CS’s evidence relies on hearsay, where others had shown him their Facebook feeds to demonstrate what the Registrant purportedly wrote and posted, the Panel was able to focus on CS’s actual knowledge to conclude on the facts, below.

14. The Panel made the following decisions in relation to each Particular of Allegation, as amended, as to the facts alone without the Stem of Particular 1:

15. Whilst the Panel considered each Particular of Allegation separately, all the factors mentioned herein related to all the Particulars of Allegation. The posts relating to all the Particulars of Allegation were produced in evidence by screenshots. CS’s evidence was that he had looked at the live feed shown to him by the relevant four staff members from their own mobile phones, with the initial approach coming from them and not from CS to them. The Panel accepted this and that CS asked them to inform him about any further posts that they thought he needed to be aware of.

16. The Panel also noted that the Registrant himself in his written submission and in answer to CS’ questions to him in June 2014, accepted that he posted on Facebook both the earlier posts (not subject of this Allegation, but the subject of CS’s discussion with him on 3 June 2014) and the posts set out in this Allegation. The Panel noted that the Registrant’s written submission for this Allegation does not deny the images or the words of those posts.

17. bTherefore, the Panel has concluded on the balance of probabilities that the HCPC has proved that the Registrant used his Facebook account to post the posts set out in Particulars of Allegation 1a) to 1k).

18. For these reasons, the Panel finds as to the facts alone:

1a): Proved;
1b): Proved;
1c): Proved;
1d): Proved;
1e): Proved:
1f): Proved;
1g): Proved;
1h): Proved;
1i): Proved;
1j): Proved;
1k): Proved.

19. In relation to the stem of Particular of Allegation 1, the Panel determined each Particular of Allegation as against the effect of each on the general public and as against CS in relation to whether or not they were “inappropriate” and/or “offensive”.

20. The Panel was satisfied on the balance of probabilities from the evidence adduced today, the second day of the hearing, that the copy of the record of registration provided by the HCPC demonstrated that the Registrant was a Registered Paramedic at the time of the events relating to Particulars of Allegation 1.

21. The Panel made the following decisions in relation to each Particular of Allegation as pleaded and include the words of the stem of the allegation:

22. Although there is no evidence as to how many people had read the posts contained in the Particulars of Allegation, or evidence as to exactly how many Friends the Registrant had on Facebook, nevertheless, the Panel concluded that the level of potential for the general public using Facebook, and even beyond, should the press have received them, and including all the Registrant’s Friends, to read them was evident. There is reference on two of the posts, Exhibits 3 and 10, respectively, to 6 and 10 other people who had commented on or viewed those posts. Hence, in the Panel’s view, clearly others had read the posts concerned and those persons would have had the freedom to share that/those post(s) if they so wished. Thus, the Panel concluded that the potential for these posts to be seen by the public at large has been made out.

23. Overall, where the posts’ images and words related to an image or reference to a bald man, a bald man wearing spectacles (whether drawn on or not), referring to “little” and “large”, showing a bald man with spectacles with a goatee beard (whether drawn on or not), references to weight and images (whether drawn on or not) of clown shoes, with or without an express reference to the initials of that image (being CS), the Panel concluded that this demonstrated a theme that ran through most of the posts the subject of the Particulars of Allegation.

1a): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive. The Panel concluded that the slang contained in the post was such as to offend the general public, if reading this post, as it had a sexual connotation, which was inappropriate. Equally, the Panel concluded that the same distasteful remark was aimed specifically at CS, in light of the history of the lack of the Registrant’s promotion and the complaint he had about the person who did obtain the promotion (BC). For that reason, the Panel concluded that it was reasonable for CS to have taken offence at that comment, especially as there was an express sexual reference in relation to the word “Boss”, and CS was, at the time, the “boss” of BC;

1b) Proved as to inappropriate and offensive. The Panel concluded that the words contained in this post included vindictive and rude descriptions and would be offensive and inappropriate to the general public if reading this post. As to CS, the Panel accepted CS’s evidence that he was offended by this post. The Panel also concluded that there was clearly a theme emerging relating to CS’s physical appearance that seemed to target him. The Panel also concluded that, in light of the history of the lack of the Registrant’s promotion and the complaint he had about the person who did obtain the promotion (BC), it was reasonable for CS to have taken offence at that comment;

1c): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive to CS. The Panel did not consider that the general public would be offended by this post, as, although it contained a slang word for a part of the human anatomy, it was not so rude as to attract shock or offence in the mind of a reasonable individual member of the public reading it. However, in the Panel’s opinion, the images of a bigger, bald man with spectacles with a clearly smaller image, looking apprehensively towards the bigger image next to it, and a written reference to ‘Muppet’s” in the context of the other words set out, demonstrate  the unfolding of the theme that is merging at this stage where the Registrant is sending a message to CS (and BC) about their relationship at work. Moreover, the Panel concluded that CS’s conclusions and feelings about this post were reasonable, in light of the history of the lack of the Registrant’s promotion and the complaint he had about the person who did obtain the promotion (BC);

1d): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive. The Panel concluded that the use by the Registrant of the “c” word would be both inappropriate and highly offensive to the general public reading it in this post and that this would be widely acknowledged as such in any environment as a derogatory description of a part of the human female anatomy. As to CS, in the Panel’s opinion, aside from the obvious connotations of high offence that can be taken from the use of the “c” word, this post has had the effect, reasonably taken in the Panel’s view, by CS, of becoming deeply personal to him. It has a specific and express reference to “Clown shoes” being the “same initials”  as the “useless fat c—-“ that “I used to work with”, thus identifying CS by his initials and further identifying that the Registrant used to work with him. In the Panel’s view, this made the identification, and inevitable humiliation of CS amongst his work colleagues, and others, very likely;

1e): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive to CS. The Panel did not consider this post to be either inappropriate or offensive to the general public, as, objectively, it appears relatively innocuous. However, to CS, reasonably in the Panel’s view, for the reasons set out (in light of the history of the lack of the Registrant’s promotion and the complaint he had about the person who did obtain the promotion (BC)), this demonstrated an undermining of CS’s position as BC’s “boss” and belittled his relationship with BC.  Hence, in the Panel’s judgement, this post was inappropriate and offensive to CS, and again demonstrated the recurring theme of belittling and bullying by the Registrant of CS, whom he was targeting by posting in this way on Facebook. Furthermore, this post, as in the first post at Particular of Allegation 1a), refers to the Registrant’s “boss’, thus undermining the Registrant’s own explanation in his written submission that he had been referring to his sister’s partner in these posts;

1f): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive. The Panel concluded that the use of the part-redacted word relating to a part of the human male anatomy would be both obvious and offensive to the general public reading it in this post. As to CS, in the Panel’s opinion, this continued the theme that the Registrant was undertaking in his Facebook campaign against CS. The allusions to weight would, in the Panel’s view, make it reasonable for CS to have drawn the conclusions that he did, and this, in the Panel’s view, was strengthened by the history of the Registrant’s aggrieved stance on BC obtaining the said promotion. The Panel concluded, for these reasons, that CS had every right to feel offended and that this was an inappropriate post;

1g): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive: The Panel concluded that the use of the “f” word, although more commonly used in modern times, would be offensive to a member of the public reading it in this post, as would the slang for a part of the male anatomy. For CS, the Panel concluded that this would be offensive and inappropriate for him to read, as it continued the theme of undermining his work relationship with BC, whilst also describing his physical appearance, and insulting the fact that CS had received a medal for his service as a Paramedic. In the Panel’s opinion, the added insult of the swear words referred to above compounded the insulting and vindictive post. Furthermore, it was reasonable in the Panel’s view, for CS to have formed this opinion of the post by reason of the Registrant’s aggrieved stance on BC obtaining the said promotion.

1h) Proved as to inappropriate and offensive. The Panel considered that this post could not be discerned by the general public as inappropriate or offensive, as it appeared to be referring to to two people in reasonably innocuous terms, albeit that one of them is very well known. However, for CS, this post in the Panel’s opinion, had the effect of continuing the thread that the Registrant had created with the reference to a clown (as in the post relating to Particular of Allegation 1d)) and also had the effect of undermining CS’s confidence in his role. In the Panels’ view, this belief by CS was reasonable, given the Registrant’s aggrieved stance on BC obtaining the said promotion;

1i) Not Proved as to inappropriate or offensive. The Panel considered that this post was merely the Registrant expressing his extensive views on matters that do not appear to make sense on reading them. The Panel concluded that the public, reading this post, could not consider the comments to be inappropriate or offensive. As to CS, he acknowledged in his oral evidence that this post might not have been aimed at him, as its links to him were remote and somewhat obscure. The Panel agreed with this. The Panel considered that there did not appear to be any link to any of the written and visual descriptions of CS, as shown in the other posts;

1j): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive to CS, The Panel determined that the general public, reading this post, would not conclude that it was inappropriate or offensive, as it seemed to relate to a personal issue between two people. For CS, the Panel concluded that the theme established by the Registrant was apparent to CS. The Panel considered that CS’s response to the post in feeling bullied and insulted by it was a reasonable response, in light of the Registrant’s aggrieved stance on BC obtaining the said promotion. In the Panel’s judgement, this post for CS was both inappropriate and offensive;

1k): Proved as to inappropriate and offensive to CS. The Panel concluded that the words of this post were sufficiently innocuous as to not be deemed by the general public reading them to be inappropriate or offensive, as they clearly related to a matter between two individuals. However, in the Panels’ judgement, the effect of those words on CS would have been considerable and he described that. The Panel accepted his evidence on it; namely, that he now had become extremely fearful, not just for the health and safety of himself and his family, but also for his work colleagues, who had shown him the Registrant’s posts, and their families. CS went as far as to advise them on cautionary actions they should all take. By this post, in the Panel’s opinion, the Registrant demonstrated a clear threat to CS and those showing him the Registrant’s posts. Taking into account CS’s knowledge of how badly the Registrant had taken his failure to obtain the promotion and taking into account the culmination over a long period of these posts referring to CS, BC and now others, the Panel considered that CS’s reaction was entirely reasonable.

Misconduct:

24. In reaching its decision on misconduct, the Panel took into account the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics (the Standards) and the HCPC’s Standards of Proficiency for Paramedics. It accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and exercised the principle of proportionality.

25. In the Panel’s opinion, the facts found proved demonstrated conduct by the Registrant of a continuing theme of cyber-bullying CS over a considerable period of time.  Furthermore, the Panel concluded that, by posting in this way, the Registrant would have known that, by using Facebook, the posts had the potential to be visible to everyone.

26. The Panel determined that the Registrant’s conduct was deliberate. It had the intention of belittling, humiliating and undermining CS as a person and his authority at work to colleagues and to the wider public, who had the potential to read the offending posts. In addition, the manner of the Registrant’s conduct was that he acted in a covert and underhand manner, using elliptical, offensive, inappropriate and extremely personal comments and images and relating them to CS. The Registrant descended into using puppets and a politician’s images and super-imposing on them some of (to the Registrant) CS’s physical characteristics; for example, by drawing spectacles, a goatee beard, and using images with characters who were, in CS’s words, follically challenged. In the Panel’s judgement, the Registrant’s conduct was offensive, highly insulting, deeply personal and hurtful to CS. It was also threatening to CS and his colleagues.

27. For these reasons, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s conduct was serious and fell far below the standards expected of a registered Paramedic. It bought the profession into disrepute and undermined public confidence in the profession. The Registrant knew, or ought to have known, the HCPC’s policy on using social media, which is that if a professional uses social media, that professional must use it carefully and expect that ultimately it might be seen by the general public.

28. The Panel concluded that the Registrant was, or should have been, aware of the danger of his posts being seen by those who reported them to CS, but also by others, whether that was his other Facebook Friends or the general public, if those Friends shared any or all of the offending posts. In the Panel’s judgement, in continuing in the manner he did, over a protracted period of time, the Registrant recklessly disregarded his professional duties as a Paramedic and disregarded the ethics underpinning his profession.

29. In the Panel’s judgement, the Registrant’s conduct breached a number of the HCPC’s Standards of conduct Performance and Ethics (the Standards) and the HCPC’s Standards of Proficiency for Paramedics, as follows:

Breaches of the Standards:

Standard 1.5: “You must not discriminate against…colleagues by allowing your personal views to affect your professional relationships…”

Standard 2.5: “You must work in partnership with colleagues…”

Standard 2.7 : “Social Media and networking websites…You must use all forms of communication appropriately and responsibly, including social media and networking sites.”

Standard 9.1: “Personal and professional behaviour…You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.”

Breaches of the Standards of Proficiency:

“Registrant partitioners must…”

3.1:…be able to maintain fitness to practise…(and)…understand the need to maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct.”

6: “be able to practise in a non-discriminatory manner.”

8.1: “ be able to demonstrate effective and appropriate verbal and non-verbal skills in communications information, advice, instruction and professional opinion to….colleagues and others.”

8.6: “be aware of the characteristics and consequences of verbal and non-verbal communication and how this can be affected by factors such as age, culture, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status…”

9.2: “understand the need to build and sustain professional relationships as both an independent practitioner and collaboratively as a member of a team.”

30. For these reasons, the Panel has determined that the facts found proved amount to misconduct.

Impairment:

31. In reaching its decision on impairment, the Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and exercised the principle of proportionality. The Panel took into consideration that impairment is a forward-looking concept and is phrased in the present tense.

32. The Panel concluded that at the time of posting the Facebook comments, the Registrant was clearly impaired, as he had no insight into his serious misconduct. Furthermore, he had continued them over a considerable period of time.

33. The Panel has no information from the Registrant about any insight or remediation on his part in the intervening period between then and now and, in the Panel’s judgement, his written submission does not demonstrate either insight or remediation in any form.

34. The Registrant has not attended the hearing so as to be able give evidence of his conduct since these events and his view of the future. Thus, the Panel has nothing to gainsay that this type of misconduct by the Registrant will not happen again in the future.

35. In the Panel’s judgement, if the Panel were to find that the Registrant is not currently impaired, public confidence in this regulatory process, in the profession and in its reputation would be severely undermined. The HCPC’s Standards are in place to facilitate the legal, appropriate, honest and truthful use of social media. Every practitioner should know the details of this and to ignore it, whether deliberately, recklessly or carelessly, is to be in danger of rightfully invoking the opprobrium of the general public, which has a legitimate expectation to expect its professionals to behave with integrity and appropriately.

36. Thus, for these reasons, the Panel has concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired.

 

Sanction:

37. The Panel heard the submission of Mr Ferson. It read all the relevant documentation, including the Registrant’s submission prepared by him for the Investigating Committee. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and exercised the principle of proportionality at all times. In reaching its decision on sanction, the Panel took into consideration that sanction should not be primarily punitive, but that it can appear so subjectively to Registrants. The Panel has also paid regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Guidance.

38. The Panel has identified the following mitigating and aggravating factors in the case:

Mitigating factors:

• The Registrant has no known matter against him before these events, or since;
• His misconduct did not involve clinical practice;
• No service users were harmed by the Registrant’s misconduct.

Aggravating factors:

• That, despite being warned by CS at their meeting in June 2014 not to post offensive comments about CS on Facebook in the future, the Registrant continued posting offensive and inappropriate comments relating to CS on Facebook;
• The Registrant did so for a considerable period of time after June 2104;
• The Registrant became more threatening in his post to CS after the HCPC process had  commenced;
• The Registrant’s posts were, by their nature, vicious, offensive and deeply hurtful to their intended victim, CS;
• The posts consisted of a theme run by the Registrant that had the primary characteristic of cyber-bullying;

39. The Panel first considered taking no action or mediation and rejected these outcomes. This is a serious case involving threatening and deeply unpleasant, some obscene and highly personal comments against a fellow senior work colleague by the Registrant. For these reasons, the Panel is of the opinion that public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process would be seriously undermined with such outcomes.

40. The Panel next considered imposing a Caution Order and rejected this.  In the Panel’s judgement, the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors by a considerable margin in this case. As made clear in its determination on Misconduct and Impairment, the Panel has concluded that the Registrant has no insight, and, to date, nothing to indicate that he intends to remediate, or has commenced remediation, of his serious misconduct. As such, in the Panel’s judgement, the risk of repetition in this case is extremely high.

41. The Panel next considered imposing a Conditions of Practice Order and rejected this. The Panel was not confident that there would be any workable and enforceable conditions that could address the fundamental issues raised by this case, which are the level of the Registrant’s behaviour and integrity, his poor professional and personal judgement and his lack of insight into his past conduct and how he can remediate so as to avoid repetition in the future.

42. The Panel next considered imposing a Suspension Order.  In the Panel’s opinion, by his serious misconduct the Registrant has brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute. His misconduct involved deliberate acts that resulted in his former colleague, CS, being belittled, humiliated and shamed in the eyes of his colleagues, including those who looked up to CS for guidance and advice. This was a course of conduct that was intentionally hurtful and caused CS and other staff members affected to be in fear and, for CS, to feel embarrassed and ridiculed. In the Panel’s judgement, it was the cruelest of ways for the Registrant to make his point.

43. Thus, for these reasons, in the Panel’s judgement, the matter is sufficiently serious to attract the sanction of a Suspension Order. In the Panel’s opinion, the wider public interest can be effectively met by this sanction, as it would properly reflect the fact that public confidence in the Registrant and his profession, which has brought into disrepute by this misconduct, has been severely undermined.

44. The Panel considered that a period of 6 months Suspension Order would be fair and proportionate as it would allow time for the Registrant to respond to this decision, as well as to impose the restriction of being unable to work as a Paramedic for a limited period of time so as to adequately reflect the wider public interest.

45. The Panel considered the higher sanction of Striking Off and rejected this. The Panel considered that going to that level at this stage would be too punitive as there was no harm to service users and the matter is remediable, which opportunity is provided by the lower sanction of a Suspension Order, if the Registrant so choses.

46. The Panel would advise the Registrant that a future Review Panel may be assisted by the attendance at the hearing of the Registrant himself, the production of an effective reflective piece by him, dealing with the issues raised by this case, especially his use of social media and various guidance documents to which he may wish to refer and any relevant references and testimonials he might wish to produce.

Order

ORDER: That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Clayton R Blight for a period of 6 months from the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

An Interim Suspension Order for a period of 18 months was imposed to cover the appeal period. 

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Clayton R Blight

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
30/10/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended