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Failure to provide adequate care

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

Type of concern: Failure to provide adequate care

Profession: Biomedical scientist


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

Standards of proficiency – biomedical scientists (1 September 2023)

  • Standard 1. practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
  • Standard 1.1 identify the limits of their practice and when to seek advice or refer to another professional or service
  • Standard 14.3 work safely, including being able to select appropriate hazard control and risk management, reduction or elimination techniques, in a safe manner and in accordance with health and safety legislation
  • Standard 14.5 establish safe environments for practice, which appropriately manage risk
  • Standard 2. practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession
  • Standard 2.2 promote and protect the service user’s interests at all times
  • Standard 2.3 understand the importance of safeguarding by actively looking for signs of abuse, demonstrating understanding of relevant safeguarding processes and engaging in these processes where necessary

Case study

A professional body raised a concern that a Biomedical Scientist had acted beyond her scope of practise. The registrant ran a private laboratory and was contacted by a patient in relation to a number of health concerns, though they never met in person. According to the registrant, the patient was suffering from a number of complex health problems, including anxiety, depression and insomnia.

The registrant conducted a HPLC urine test on a urine sample provided to her by the patient, and her analysis of that sample was sent to the patient who subsequently approached his GP. On the basis of the registrant’s report, the patient was referred to a specialist in metabolic diseases at a London hospital. After assessing the patient, the specialist was concerned about the registrant’s actions in relation to her assessment of the patient and raised a concern with the relevant professional body, who contacted the HCPC.

The panel found that the registrant’s care of the patient fell short of the standards expected of a Biomedical Scientist and amounted to misconduct. Although the panel accepted that the registrant was well-meaning, they felt that the results and report of the urine analysis together with her emails to the patient had the potential to confuse the patient with its provision of a significant amount of misleading information. Indeed, it may have led to causing the patient anxiety and psychological harm.

The panel felt that the registrant’s conduct was remediable, although the registrant would need to recognise the error of her ways and unless she did so, there was a high likelihood of repetition. The panel found that, when questioned, the registrant’s evidence about her recent professional development was vague, and the panel also judged that the registrant was not familiar with current biomedical science practice and methodology. In the view of the panel, the registrant’s evidence demonstrated she was unclear and unconvincing about accreditation and quality assurance in respect of her laboratory, and these were contributory factors to the registrant’s inability to understand the proper limits to her scope of practice.

Measures we put in place to protect the public

The Conduct and Competence Committee imposed a twelve-month suspension order.


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