Our case studies are based on real life fitness to practise concerns we have received
This case study was published in 2019 and refers to the standards of proficiency in place at that time.
Type of concern: Unsafe clinical practice
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 7. You must communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners
Standards of proficiency for biomedical scientists (updated in November 2014)
- Standard 4. Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement
A biomedical scientist’s employer raised concerns following an incident where the registrant failed to follow procedure. When processing samples, the registrant failed to prevent contamination, which led to inaccurate results.
The registrant attended the hearing and was represented. While it was a one-off incident, the Panel felt it was not due to a lack of understanding, knowledge or training. The Panel felt these were deliberate acts and contrary to the standard operating procedures. It resulted in blood samples having to be retaken. Additionally, there was a potential risk of harm if clinicians had acted on the contaminated results. Therefore, the Panel felt the registrant’s conduct fell well below the standards expected of a biomedical scientist. The incident was sufficiently serious to constitute misconduct. The Panel felt that the misconduct was remediable. However, it felt that the registrant had not demonstrated that it had been remedied. In addition, there was a risk of repetition, given the extreme pressures of the work environment. The Panel also felt the following clear message needed to be given to the public and to other registrants. It is not acceptable for a biomedical scientist to make a deliberate decision to not follow mandatory standard operating procedures. Therefore, the Panel found the registrant’s fitness to practise was impaired on both the personal and public component.
The Panel then went on to consider what sanction to impose which would be sufficient to protect the public. The Panel felt a conditions of practice order would be sufficient. The conditions required the registrant to undertake training and the preparation of a personal development plan to ensure the registrant was able to manage their workload effectively, even when subject to stress, so that the registrant wasn’t tempted by shortcuts or to take risks.
Measures we put in place to protect the public
The Conduct and Competence Committee imposed a twelve-month conditions of practice order.
- Learning material
- Case study
- Cofrestredig, Employers
- Biomedical scientists