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Failure to conduct a full / accurate assessment

Our case studies are based on real life fitness to practise concerns we have received

Type of concern: Failure to conduct a full / accurate assessment

Profession: Practitioner psychologist


Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (updated in August 2012)

  • Standard 1. You must act in the best interests of service users
  • Standard 6. You must act within the limits of your knowledge, skills and experience and, if necessary, refer the matter to another practitioner
  • Standard 7. You must communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners
  • Standard 10. You must keep accurate records

Standards of proficiency for practitioner psychologists (1 September 2023)

  • Standard 1. practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
  • Standard 2.2 promote and protect the service user’s interests at all times
  • Standard 4. practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement
  • Standard 4.1 recognise that they are personally responsible for, and must be able to justify, their decisions and actions
  • Standard 4.2 use their skills, knowledge and experience, and the information available to them, to make informed decisions and/or take action where necessary
  • Standard 4.3 make reasoned decisions to initiate, continue, modify or cease treatment, or the use of techniques or procedures, and record the decisions and reasoning appropriately
  • Standard 4.7 use research, reasoning and problem-solving skills when determining appropriate actions
  • Standard 13.24 critically evaluate risks and their implications

Case study

An employer raised concerns about a psychologist who did not report a service user’s suicidal thoughts to their supervisor or any other professionals. This was despite it happening repeatedly and after recording a case note. Following an appointment with the registrant, the servicer user made a suicide attempt and was taken to hospital. The registrant delayed informing her line supervisor about this despite having received a police report.

The registrant attended the hearing and was represented. The Panel felt that the registrant owed a duty of care to the service use. At the time, the service user was extremely vulnerable and at risk of causing himself harm. The Panel was satisfied that by failing to complete an appropriate assessment and by not immediately informing her supervisor or other health professionals, the registrant failed to promote and protect the interests of service users.

The registrant to be in serious breach of the standards, which it felt amounted to misconduct. The Panel found that the registrant lacked insight and lacked effective remediation. The Panel also determined there was a risk of repetition. It felt the registrant had brought her profession into disrepute by breaching a fundamental tenet of the profession. This was given that the primary duty of a practitioner psychologist is to safeguard service users from harm. The Panel came to the conclusion that a striking-off order was the only way to protect the public, given the registrant’s inability to remedy her misconduct.

Measures we put in place to protect the public

The Conduct and Competence Committee imposed a striking-off order.


Learning material
Case study
Cofrestredig, Employers
Practitioner psychologists
Tudalen wedi'i diweddaru ymlaen: 18/12/2023