Miss Natasha Badhan

: Operating department practitioner

: ODP35972

: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 15/12/2017 End: 12:30 15/12/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Suspended

Allegation

On 11 May 2016 at Black Country Magistrates’ Court you were convicted of:

 

1. Driving a motor vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in your breath, namely 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, exceeded the prescribed limit.

 

2. By reason of your conviction as set out in paragraph 1 your fitness to practise as an Operating Department Practitioner is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters

Proof of service

1. The HCPC sent a Notice of Hearing to the Registrant’s registered address on 15 November 2017. The Notice set out all the relevant information about today’s proceedings. The Panel was therefore satisfied that service had been effected in accordance with the Rules.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

2. Mr Pandya applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. He submitted that the Registrant is aware of these proceedings. Mr Pandya submitted that the Registrant has therefore waived her right to be present. The Registrant had not applied for an adjournment and there is nothing before the Panel today which would indicate that she would be likely to attend if the matter were to be adjourned.

3. This Panel had regard to the most recent HCPC Practice Note on proceeding in absence (dated September 2016) and it has also accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred it to the case of Adeogba v GMC [2016] EWCA Civ 162.

4. The Panel considered that it is appropriate to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.  This is a statutory review of a substantive order which must be reviewed. The Panel concluded that the Registrant has voluntarily absented herself from this hearing. The Panel also noted that the Registrant did not attend the original substantive hearing.

5. The Panel considered that there is a public interest in proceeding with this case and no useful purpose would be served by this matter not going ahead today.

Background:

6. The Registrant, Natasha Badhan, was employed as an Operating Department Practitioner (OPD) by   Dudley   Group   Hospital (the Hospital).

7. On 22 February 2016 at 07:58, police responded to a call from the Registrant’s former partner who stated that they were together and that the Registrant had been drink driving. When the police attended outside a public house in West Bromwich, they found a motor vehicle parked at an awkward angle in the High Street with the former partner sitting in the passenger seat and the Registrant walking towards them from a nearby bus stop.    The Registrant told the police that she and her former partner had been drinking heavily.   As it was unclear at that time who had been driving the car, both the Registrant and her former partner were arrested.   At the police station, the Registrant admitted that she had been driving the car, and she signed a police officer’s notebook   confirming   the same.     She then provided   two breath specimens.    The specimens were analysed and the lower of the two readings showed 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.    This exceeds the prescribed legal limit of 35 microgrammes. The Registrant informed the HCPC of her arrest and charge by email the next day.

8. On 11 May 2016 at Warley Magistrates’ Court (part of the Black Country Magistrates’ Court), the Registrant changed  her  initial  not guilty plea to one of guilty and was convicted of driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol.  She was disqualified from driving for 18 months, fined £450 and ordered to pay the Crown Prosecution Service costs of £300.    The Registrant notified the HCPC of the outcome of the court hearing on the same date, and informed the Council that the 18 month disqualification, would be reduced by 25% if she completed a drink drive course.

9. On 28 June 2016 the Registrant sent an email to the HCPC in which she gave an account of how  she  came  to  be  driving  her  car  with excess alcohol over the prescribed legal limit.

10. The Substantive hearing in this matter was heard on 6 January 2017 when that Panel found the Registrant’s fitness to practise to be impaired by reason of her conviction and it imposed a 12 month Condition of Practice order.

Decision

11. The Panel took into account the documentary evidence before it. It considered the submissions by the HCPC and it accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

12. In coming to its decision the Panel took account of the Indicative Sanctions Policy and the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

13. During the course of the Hearing the Panel asked the HCPC to contact the employer they have on file to confirm whether the Registrant was still employed by them and if so in what capacity and whether they were aware of her conditions of Practice Order. Mr Pandya confirmed an email had been sent to the employer whose details they had on file. They replied that the Registrant had resigned from her position in November 2016. 

14. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise remained impaired. To this extent it had regard to the public interest and whether the Registrant’s conduct was remediable, whether it had been remedied and the risk of repetition.

15. The Panel noted that the original Panel dealing with this matter identified:

The Panel was particularly concerned, in light of the level by which she was over the prescribed limit, that the Registrant did not appear to have realised that she was still under the influence of alcohol when she went out that morning and drove her car.

The Panel noted that the Registrant has shown some remorse and that, in pleading guilty to the offence, she has acknowledged her wrongdoing.  However, the Panel was concerned that the Registrant had shown only limited insight into that wrongdoing.
The Panel was concerned that the most recent information before it was in the Registrant’s written representations dated 28 June 2016.   It had no information about the Registrant’s practice either before or since the matter that led to her conviction.   There are no references or testimonials from her employer or her colleagues there, despite there being a reference to such in the Registrant’s written representations.

The Panel was also concerned that, in those written representations, the Registrant appeared to have been on her way to work when she was stopped by police and subsequently arrested.    If that is so, there is a clear risk to service users (i) in any ODP working whilst under the influence of alcohol and (ii) in the Registrant’s case as she did not appear to realise the effect the alcohol had on her.

The Panel noted that, in her written representations, the Registrant had stated that she would not repeat this conduct.    She refers to having seen her GP and that she had received support.   However, there is no evidence as to what she had actually done in order to remedy her shortcomings such as educating herself as to the effects of alcohol.   In those circumstances, the Panel is unable to say other than that there is a risk of repetition.

16. There is no new evidence before this Panel today to enable it to come to any other conclusion than that the Registrant’s Fitness to Practice remains impaired. There is no evidence since the last Hearing of any insight or remediation and in those circumstances the Panel concluded that there was a risk of repetition.

17. The Panel has taken into account the public interest which includes protection of patients, maintenance of public confidence in the profession and declaring and upholding public confidence in the profession. It concluded given the Registrant’s level of engagement that the Registrant’s fitness to practice remains impaired.

18. The Panel therefore went on to consider what, if any sanction, it should impose. It noted the mitigating and aggravating factors that were identified on the previous occasion namely;

• the Registrant’s admission and plea of guilty at the Magistrates’ Court

• the Registrant had demonstrated some remorse and some insight into her wrongdoing

• that she had engaged with the regulatory process at least up to the end of June 2016

• that she had sought the support of her GP

• that she has an unblemished professional record

• that there were elements of her relationship with her former partner which may have been a contributing factor.

• the   Registrant’s   lack   of   acknowledgement   of   the   level   of consumption of alcohol

• that she had been double the legal limit
that she had been on her way to work where it was possible that she would have had some contact with service users whilst under the influence of alcohol

• that there were no supporting testimonials or references

• that her conviction was in breach of the standards found in the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics: Standard 3:  you must keep high standards of personal conduct, as well as professional conduct.

19. This Panel first considered taking no action. However, given the Registrant’s lack of engagement the Panel considered that this was inappropriate in all the circumstances. For the same reasons the Panel considered that a Caution Order would not be appropriate as there is no new evidence before this Panel as to the Registrant’s current level of insight.

20. The Panel next went on to consider a Condition of Practice Order. It noted that the previous Panel imposed a 12 month Condition of Practice Order. The Registrant has not complied with Condition 1 of that Order. It also appears that if she is working as an Operating Department Practitioner she has not complied with Condition 2.

21. The previous Panel imposed the following relevant Conditions:

1.        You must complete a reflective piece which demonstrates:

•  Your   understanding   of   safe   and   appropriate   alcohol consumption

•  Your understanding of the potential impact of alcohol consumption upon your ability to practise safely and effectively

•  Your understanding of the potential impact of inappropriate alcohol consumption upon the reputation of the profession of ODP, Furthermore, you must outline the measures you have undertaken to develop your awareness and understanding.

2.  You must provide an appropriate reference from your line manager which testifies to your safe and effective practice as an Operating Department Practitioner professional.

3.  You must inform the HCPC in writing within 7 days if you cease to be employed by your current employer or take up any other or further employment.

22. The Panel considered that the Conditions of Practice Order that was imposed on the Registrant was not onerous and in failing to engage with her Regulator the Registrant shows a continuing lack of insight. The Panel also considered that her lack of engagement with the Regulator demonstrates a lack of insight into the role of her Regulator. The Panel was of the view given the Registrant’s breach of condition 1, that it would not be workable or practicable to impose a further period of conditions.

23. The Panel therefore concluded that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction would be a Suspension Order for a period of 12 months. The Panel considered that to impose a Striking Off Order at this stage would be disproportionate.  Prior to the expiry of this Suspension Order there will be a review hearing. Whilst this Panel cannot bind any future reviewing Panel it considered that if the Registrant is committed to staying on the Register she should provide the Panel with evidence which may assist it such as:

• A reflective piece which demonstrates:

• Your   understanding   of   safe and appropriate   alcohol consumption;

• Your understanding of the potential impact of alcohol consumption upon your ability to practise safely and effectively;

• Your understanding of the potential impact of    inappropriate alcohol consumption upon the reputation of the profession of ODP.

• Any references or testimonials whether professional or personal.

Order

The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Miss Natasha Badhan for 12 months on the expiry of the existing order.

Notes

This order will be reviewed again before its expiry on 03 February 2019.

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Miss Natasha Badhan

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
15/12/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing Suspended
06/01/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice