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Dishonesty – fraud (fitness to practise case study)

Our case studies are based on real life fitness to practise concerns we have received. They illustrate the types of issues that are taken into consideration by a panel when deciding if a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired, and if so what sanction to apply.

Type of concern Dishonesty – fraud
Profession Operating department practitioner

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (updated in August 2012)
Standard 3. You must keep high standards of personal conduct
Standard 13. You must behave with honesty and integrity and make sure that your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession

Standards of proficiency for physiotherapists (updated in August 2013)
Standard 3. Be able to maintain fitness to practise
Standard 3.1. Understand the need to maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct

Case study

An employer raised concerns about an operating department practitioner’s (ODP) conviction of fraud. For this conviction, she was sentenced to 18-months imprisonment and suspended for 24 months. The registrant had withdrawn money from her stepfather’s bank accounts, whilst registered as Power of Attorney for his property and finances. She used this money for her personal gain.

The registrant was not present at the hearing nor was represented. The Panel was satisfied that the facts were proven, and amounted to the statutory ground of conviction. The registrant had pleaded guilty to the offence at the Crown Court. However, she had not provided any evidence to demonstrate insight, remorse or remediation. In the absence of such information, the Panel was of the view that there remained a risk of repetition. The Panel agreed that the case was serious.

The registrant had pleaded guilty to an offence of dishonesty. She had abused the position of trust in which she had been placed. Namely, to act as the Power of Attorney for her vulnerable stepfather who lacked the capacity to manage his own affairs and finances. The offence had taken place over a number of years.

The Panel felt that the registrant’s conduct had brought the profession into disrepute. The Panel felt that it would have a detrimental effect on the reputation of the regulator and would undermine public confidence in the profession if they were to find no current impairment. The Panel was also of the view that a finding of impairment was required to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.

The Panel then went on to consider which sanction to impose to protect the public. It was clear to the Panel that any reasonably well-informed member of the public would be profoundly concerned if an ODP, convicted of such an offence, was not removed from the Register. Therefore, the Panel concluded that the nature and gravity of the registrant’s offending was such that a striking-off order was required.

Measures we put in place to protect the public The Conduct and Competence Committee imposed a striking-off order.


Learning material
Case study
Registrants, Employers
Operating department practitioners
Page updated on: 14/09/2020