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Case study 5

A hearing aid dispenser ('the registrant') was suspended from the Register for twelve months after a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee found that his record-keeping had been so deficient to amount to poor clinical practice.

The panel heard oral evidence from three witnesses from the registrant’s employer which revealed that a clinical audit of the registrant’s service user records uncovered a number of discrepancies and omissions. For example, failing to record answers to medical questions and the results of tests carried out on service users. Whether the registrant had failed to record the test results or had not in fact carried out the tests was unclear. There was also no evidence in the registrant’s records that service users had been referred to a doctor where such a referral would have been appropriate. The panel concluded that all of these failings could potentially have an impact on the well-being of service users.

The panel found the facts of the allegation proven and that in its judgement the registrant’s action amounted to misconduct rather than to a lack of competence. As an experienced practitioner the registrant would have known how to conduct the relevant tests, how to keep proper records and how to practise to the expected standard, but he did not do so. The registrant’s reasons for doing so were unclear as he had not engaged with the fitness to practise proceedings.

The panel was of the view that the registrant lacked insight since he had failed to acknowledge that his behaviour fell below the standards expected. Further, while the registrant’s failings were capable of remediation, there was no evidence of remediation. In the panel’s assessment this meant that the registrant’s misconduct might be repeated and he continued to present a risk to the public. The panel therefore determined that the registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired by his misconduct.

The panel concluded the appropriate sanction was a Suspension Order as there was a possibility the registrant could remediate his clinical practice and he should be afforded the opportunity to do this. The panel commented that any panel reviewing the Suspension Order could be assisted by the registrant’s attendance at the review hearing and his demonstration of remediation and insight into the identified failings.