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Three physiotherapists censured

Two physiotherapists have been suspended from the professional register, and another issued with a conditions of practice order.

Debra Harrison, from Stourbridge, admitted breaching patient confidentiality and was suspended for six months by a panel of the Health Professions Council (HPC) conduct and competence committee. Mrs Harrison was a physiotherapy manager at the private West Midlands Hospital, part of Capio Healthcare UK.

The panel heard that shortly after resigning from the hospital to set up her own practice, she wrote to a former patient and included a flyer about the business.  The patient complained that she obtained his 'personal data' from the hospital without permission.
Mrs Harrison admitted making an 'error of judgment' in breaching the Data Protection Act. Sandy Yule, who chaired the panel hearing, said Mrs Harrison showed a 'lack of understanding of the importance of maintaining patient confidentiality and all aspects of data protection'. He said the six-month suspension would 'demonstrate to the public at large the fundamental importance of maintaining the confidentiality of all details surrounding patient management'. The panel's verdict took into account her 'previous unblemished record'.

In a separate case, Naveed Khan, from Saltley, Birmingham, was suspended for 12 months after being deemed incompetent as an employee of Tendring primary care trust, Essex. The HPC heard that he failed to write comprehensive notes and showed poor communication and handling skills as well as 'a lack of awareness'.  The hearing centred on events that took place in 2003, between February 10 and 12. Keith Ross, who chaired Mr Khan's hearing, said the practitioner's standards of performance fell short of those expected of a registered physiotherapist.

A year's suspension was needed to protect the public because of the 'seriousness of the allegations, which we have concluded are well founded', Mr Ross said. While suspended from the HPC register, individuals cannot practise anywhere in the UK using the protected title 'physiotherapist'.  Douglas Sinclair, a physiotherapist working for NHS Highland, has been issued with a conditions of practice order for 'misconduct and lack of competence' in relation to his record keeping. He must undertake a CSP-approved return to work course by July 31, 2006.


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Article Information


Matthew Limb

Issue date

17 November 2004

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