Jamie S Broadbent

: Operating department practitioner

: ODP35560

Interim Order: Imposed on 06 May 2016

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 30/11/2017 End: 12:00 30/11/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

 Allegation (found proved at the Substantive Hearing):

Whilst registered as an Operating Department Practitioner you were convicted on 29 January 2016 at Teeside Magistrates Court of:

1.On 28 August 2015 at Stockton-On-Tees had in your possession a quantity of cocaine a controlled drug of Class A in contravention of section 5(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 contrary to section 5(2) of and schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

2.That between 8 September 2014 and 28 August 2015 at Stockton-On-Tees you stole midazolam, diazepam, ketamine and associated medical equipment, of a value unknown belonging to North Tees Hospital contrary to Section 1(1) and 7 of the Theft Act 1968.

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

Finding

Participation by telephone

1. The Registrant by an email dated 24 November 2017 stated that  “ I would like to make representation by phone if possible”. Having heard the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel determined to allow the Registrant to participate by telephone, which he did.  The Panel noted that there had been defects in the notices of hearing that had been sent to the Registrant. However having regard to the Registrant’s statement that he wished to proceed with this hearing and having taken the advice of the Legal Assessor the Panel determined to do so.

Background:

2. The Registrant is an HCPC registered Operating Department Practitioner (ODP). He was employed as an ODP at North Tees Hospital. He was arrested on 28 August 2015 at the hospital, his locker was searched and a quantity of cocaine was found. His home address was then searched and empty drug ampoules were found which had been taken from the Hospital and would have contained Diazepam, Midazolam and Ketamine. A drug ampoule which would have contained Diazepam was also recovered from the Registrant’s brother’s home. The Registrant admitted taking partly-used ampoules of sedatives from the Hospital for his own use, and that he was a cocaine user. The drugs Diazepam, Midazolam and Ketamine are used in the Hospital operating theatre during operations.

3. The Hospital manager had stated that the Registrant’s behaviour had the potential to compromise patient safety. The drugs stolen should only be used in specialised areas by trained professionals and use outside the hospital environment by an untrained person could have serious consequences. The Judge who sentenced the Registrant stated that the Registrant was addicted to drugs and that this was a very hazardous addiction for an ODP, as was his use of cocaine. The theft offence was described by the Judge as “a gross breach of trust”. The mitigating circumstances were the guilty pleas, the drug treatment participation, and employment record of the Registrant.

4. He was convicted of offences of possession of a Class A controlled drug and theft on 29 January 2016 following pleas of guilty. He was sentenced on 25 February 2016 at Teesside Crown Court to imprisonment for 8 months, suspended for 24 months, with a rehabilitation activity requirement to carry out unpaid work for 120 hours. He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100 and prosecution costs of £100.


Hearing on 28 November 2016

5. At the substantive hearing on 28 November 2016, the Panel found all the factual particulars in the allegation proved and determined that by reason of his convictions, the Registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired. The Panel held that the convictions were proved by the Certificate of conviction which it had seen.

6. The Panel determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was  impaired.   That conclusion was based on both “the personal and public policy grounds. In summary its reasons were as follows:
• In respect of the personal ground ,the Panel stated its conclusion as follows:

 “However, it is not clear to the Panel today that, although the Registrant recognises his failings, he fully accepts that his addiction could have caused his work performance to be affected. Nor is it clear that he fully accepts that his theft potentially enabled unauthorised persons to have access to controlled drugs, with potentially harmful results. There is no up-to-date independent evidence to corroborate the progress the Registrant says he has made and that he remains drug free. The Panel has taken into account the Registrant’s email of 7 November 2016 and all his earlier representations. There currently appears to be a low risk of repetition, but the serious risk posed by his behaviour, both to patients and to other members of the public who could have gained access to the drugs he had removed, is serious. As well as stealing from his employer, the Registrant was also in possession of a Class A controlled drug and has admitted an offence of dishonesty, which was a serious breach of trust, as the sentencing Judge made clear.”

• In respect of the public policy ground, the Panel stated its conclusion as follows:
 “The Panel’s role is to protect the public and maintain the high standards and reputation of the profession concerned. In considering the nature, circumstances and gravity of the offence, panels need to take account of public protection in its broadest sense, including whether a registrant’s actions bring the profession concerned into disrepute or may undermine public confidence in that profession. In doing so, panels are entitled to adopt a 'retrospective' approach and consider the conviction as if a registrant was applying for registration with the HCPC. In considering any sentence imposed, panels need to give careful consideration to the terms of any sentence but, generally, in accordance with the case of CRHP v GDC and Fleischman [2005] EWHC 87 Admin, should regard it as inappropriate to allow a registrant to remain in or return to unrestricted practice whilst they are subject to a sentence.

In addition to the factors cited above, the Panel notes that the Registrant’s suspended sentence does not expire until February 2018.”

7. Having decided that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was  impaired, the Panel proceeded to consider the appropriate sanction. It reviewed all the options available to it and decided that a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months was the only appropriate and proportionate Order. It explained its reasons as follows;
“The Panel first considered whether to impose no sanction in this case and decided that would be inappropriate, given the seriousness of the convictions and that the Panel has found there is current impairment on both personal and public policy grounds.

This is not an appropriate case for mediation.

The Panel next considered imposing a caution order.

The Indicative Sanctions Policy states that a caution order should be considered in cases where the nature of the allegation means that meaningful practice restrictions cannot be imposed but [sic]  where the Registrant has shown insight, the conduct concerned is out of character, the risk of repetition is not high and thus suspension from practice would be disproportionate.

A caution order is not appropriate and proportionate to ensure the Registrant maintains proper professional standards in future and is also insufficient to uphold the standards of behaviour. This is an insufficient sanction to convey to the profession that high standards are expected of ODPs in respect of their conduct towards the public, particularly given that the Registrant’s suspended sentence will not expire until February 2018.

The Panel next considered whether imposing conditions of practice was appropriate. The Registrant has not practiced [sic] as an ODP since August 2015 but stated in an email dated 24 June 2016 that he would wish to remain on the HCPC register “with a supervision order”. The Panel took this to mean that the Registrant was asking for a Conditions of Practice Order. The Panel finds workable conditions of practice cannot be formulated which are appropriate in this case. This is because being responsible for drugs is an intrinsic part of the work of an ODP, yet it is this very part of the role that the Registrant has abused.

The Panel has therefore considered whether a period of suspension is appropriate. A 12 month Suspension could enable the Registrant to demonstrate that he has successfully overcome his drug problems, before possibly returning to practise as an ODP. The Panel has therefore decided that a period of suspension for 12 months is appropriate and the Panel concludes a 12 month suspension order would be proportionate and sufficient to protect the public.

Before reaching a final conclusion, the Panel also considered whether imposing a striking off order was necessary; but decided that this was unnecessary, in view of the possibility of full remediation. Therefore, striking off would be disproportionate.”

Review

8. The Panel gave guidance as to what might help a reviewing Panel. That guidance was in the following terms:
“The reviewing Panel is likely to be assisted by:

• The attendance of the Registrant, in person, or by telephone;

• Up-to-date, independent evidence of the Registrant’s continued abstinence from drugs;

• Confirmation that any appropriate Continuing Professional Development has been undertaken;

• A written reflective piece from the Registrant on the risks for him of working as an ODP with access to drugs and coping with workplace stress;

• Evidence of his insight in respect of the potential impact of his behaviour upon patient safety and the risk to the public of removing drugs from the controlled environment of a hospital.”


Decision of this Panel
 
9. Ms Dudrah made submissions to this Panel. In summary she said as follows; that whilst the Registrant had developed some insight there was no evidence of sufficient insight or remediation or independent evidence that the Registrant was wholly free from drugs. She submitted that the Panel should find that the Registrant’s fitness to practise was still impaired. Consideration should be given to a Conditions of Practice Order. However if the Panel could not formulate appropriate conditions, a further Suspension Order might be appropriate. In those circumstances, the Registrant would be able to produce independent evidence as to his abstinence from drugs and what he had done to update and maintain his skills and professional knowledge.

10. The Registrant gave evidence by telephone. In summary his evidence was as follows:
• He was currently working as an operations manager in the hospitality industry.
• He was wholly abstinent from drugs and had been so since his arrest.
• He was well supported by his GP and family. However he had not obtained any independent evidence to show that he was abstinent from drugs.
• There was no danger of a relapse.
• He wanted to return to practice but recognised that he would require retraining and supervision. In effect he had not done any relevant training or do any CPD since his arrest.He stated that during the period of his suspension, he had not done any courses or on line training.
• He was still engaging with his probation officer and would do so until February 2018.

11. The Panel saw a number of documents that were submitted on behalf of the Registrant; these included the following:

•The email dated 24 November 2017 from the Registrant in which he said that he wished to return to practice “with restrictions. I have completely changed my life round and am progressing well as a senior manager within an alternative industry. I am keen to return back to practice but do feel a return to practice course would be beneficial to aid me working within a clinical environment once again”;
• A very supportive letter dated 20 November 2017 from Annie Elias, the Registrant’s Offender Manager who concluded her report with the words “It is seldom in my line of work that I encounter an individual such as Jamie”. She described him as an “exceptional service user” who had complied with all aspects of his order and “been motivated to address the reasons for his offending behaviour and to move on with his life.”

12. The Panel considered the submissions that it had received and the evidence that it had heard. The Panel also heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

13. The Panel is aware that it has all the powers that are set out in Article 30 [1] of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 [The Order] and which are summarised in the letter dated 28 November 2017 addressed to the Registrant and giving notice of this hearing.

14. The Panel is aware that the process under Article 30 [1] of the Order is one of review and not one of appeal and that its function is to determine whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired and if so whether the Suspension Order under review remains the appropriate and proportionate means of public protection or should be varied or replaced by some other order.
 
Decision on Impairment

15. The Panel has concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is  still impaired in that there was a risk of repetition and therefore a restriction on the Registrant ability to practise was necessary in order to protect members of the public.  The Panel also concluded that public confidence in the profession,in the HCPC as its regulator and the need to maintain proper standards within the profession, would all be undermined if a finding of present impairment was not made. In coming to the above conclusions, the Panel noted that the Registrant had not produced a reflective piece, independent evidence of abstinence from drugs, confirmation of CDP or evidence of his insight as to the impact of his conduct on patient safety or public confidence. All of these matters were suggested by the previous panel as being of assistance to a reviewing Panel. The Panel was not satisfied that the Registrant had developed full insight and could not exclude the risk of repetition

Decision on Sanction.

16. Having concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is still impaired, the Panel proceeded to consider what order is appropriate, proportionate, sufficient and necessary to protect the public and to safeguard the public interest.

17. The Panel took into account the principles of proportionality balancing the interests of the Registrant with the public interest.

18. The Panel has had regard to the contents of the Indicative Sanctions Policy published by the HCPTS and is aware that sanctions should be considered in ascending order of severity. The Panel is aware  that the purpose of sanctions is not punitive but to protect members of the public and to safeguard the public interest. The latter objective includes maintaining standards within the profession, together with public confidence in the profession and in its regulatory processes.

19. The Panel has concluded that to take no action, thus allowing the present order to lapse, making a mediation order or imposing a caution order would be inappropriate having regard to the nature and gravity of the matters found proved. Such outcomes would not sufficiently protect the public or the public interest.

20. The Panel gave careful consideration to making a Conditions of Practice Order . It concluded that in the context of the case and having regard to the factors identified in paragraph 15 above, appropriate conditions could not be formulated that would sufficiently provide for public protection or sustain public confidence in the profession or in the HCPC as its regulator. Accordingly the Panel has concluded that the only appropriate order is a Suspension Order for a further period of 12 months.

Review by another Panel

21. This Order will be reviewed by another Panel before it expires. The Registrant should be aware that a reviewing Panel could impose a Striking Off Order. That reviewing Panel might be assisted by the following:
• Participation by the Registrant, preferably in person at the hearing itself;
• Up-to date and independent evidence of the Registrant’s continued abstinence from drugs;
• A reflective piece from the Registrant addressing his understanding of the impact of his conduct and convictions on patient safety and public confidence;
• Evidence of the steps that he had taken by way of training, CPD and other relevant courses, to maintain his professional skills and knowledge;
• Testimonials from current employers and if appropriate his probation officer.


 

Order

Order: That the Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Jamie S Broadbent for a period of 12 months from 26  December 2017,when the present order expires.

Notes

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 25 December 2018. 

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Jamie S Broadbent

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
30/11/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended
28/11/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended