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Professional Chill?

In a blog post entitled “Professional Councils And The Chilling Of Dissent” Jayqueaitch points out that the recent Health Protection Council (HPC) decision to impose a Caution on the record of Stuart Jones is sending a pretty clear message to Health Professionals.  The HPC have a handy website, and I decided to have a look at the complaints section.  People represented by the HPC are a badly behaved lot, judging by the number of FTP hearings held in the last couple of months.  The sanctions imposed on this badly behaved bunch vary tremendously, and I have detailed below the offences of those that received a similar judgement to Jones in the last couple of months.  This should give us an idea of how the HPC view instances of misconduct, and how they compare.

  • A Physiotherapist, who amongst other failures of administration, lost the files of 25 or 26 children; the confidential records of 25 0r 26 patients were mislaid; received a caution impinged on her record for two years.
  • A drunken Biomedical Scientist received a five year caution.
  • A Radiographer who did not attend to all the patients assigned to her, and failed to keep adequate records was cautioned for one year.
  • A Paramedic who failed to maintain adequate records, viz a patient report form, and sexually assaulted a colleague by touching her legs inappropriately, and kissing her; received a five year caution.
  • A Radiographer breached patient confidentiality, by looking up a patient’s details on the internet in a clinical area and entered into a wider discussion of the patient’s details whilst the patient was being scanned, and bullied and intimidated, ignored, ridiculed, made derogatory comments about and stated that they “would get your own back on a colleague” or words to that effect. Said colleague had been a witness in a previous disciplinary case. Caution for two years.
  • A Biomedical Scientist accessed a patients  electronic test results without her consent and without a clinical reason to do so; and breached patient confidentiality; and subjected the same patient to verbal bullying and harassment in anticipation of her complaint; received a three year caution.
  • A biomedical scientist accessed a patients electronic test results without her consent and without a clinical reason to do so; and breached patient confidentiality, received a three year caution.
  • A paramedic who breached a Court imposed a non-molestation order  from a Magistrates’ Court was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 costs by the court, received a two year caution from the HPC.

So, what terrible crime had Mr. Jones committed to have him hauled over the coals of an HPC disciplinary hearing?    How about losing a whole load of confidential patient records? Breaching patient confidentiality and bullying colleagues? Breaching a Court Non-Molestation Order?

No, he’d made “disparaging comments” on an internet forum, anonymously.  On another internet forum, ironically for Health Professionals, you can find a rather well made observation.

Perhaps he should have failed to attend some patients he’d been assigned, and failed to keep adequate records.  He’d only have received one year.

On the HPC website, it states – “Our fitness to practise process is designed to protect the public from those who are not fit to practise.”    At the moment, your fitness to practise process looks like it is designed to protect dodgy doctors rather than the public.  Seriously HPC, you need to get your priorities right.

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Categories: Badscience, Quackery
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