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Healtcare Professional complaint; HCPC refuses to look into it

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Joanna
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We have submitted a complaint to ATOS, DWP and HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) about a physiotherapist who submitted whole page of notes related to physical examination which never took place.

My client attended “face-to-face” appointment which lasted 20 minutes. When my client asked for a copy of the record, HP sucked her teeth and said this will be unlikely, as it is not the sort of thing that “customers” are entitled to.

Blah blah, lots of other things, like not allowing my client to explain matters properly, interrupting, stopping typing when she decided she’s heard apparently enough, and all this disgusting, disturbing stuff we all hear every day.

But then we finally do get a copy of the record and we see a whole page of the physical examination. My client is shocked- this did not happen, he says.

So we compose a complaint (DWP, ATOS and HCPC) and HCPC says: “Registrants are primarily conducting assessments in their role as health professional assessor, rather than in capacity related to their specific profession”.

Well, I laughed until I cried. What a load of ****

HCPC-registered professional lies- but hey, they are doing it on DWP dime, so that’s OK, folks!

     
JAS1
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I am HCPC registered and I was under the impression that misconduct in any time/situation can potentially impact on registration status. Can’t remember what the wording is on forms but something like that.

Apart from if I decide to go and work for ATOS then apparently!

I also had a HCP lie about carrying out a mental state examination recently. They said on the report repeatedly that the MSE showed that the client had no memory or cognition problems, I would expect not, since the MSE never actually happened!

      [ Edited: 2 Oct 2017 at 11:54 am by JAS1 ]
Dan Manville
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I thought they’d acted against Alan Barham but a quick google  proves me wrong…

     
Joanna
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I regularly work with health professions students (OTs, physios etc) at my University, especially on Fitness to Practise concerns. I know that such students have to uphold those standards at ALL TIMES. It Students can be expelled due to unacceptable behaviour which could be completely disregarded for a “normal” student but if it contravened HCPC standards- it’s bye bye profession!
Not if you work for DWP contractor it appears…

     
ClairemHodgson
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JR of their decision not to investigate the complaint (or at least, the threat of same…) might do the trick.  worth your client seeing if there is anyone locally in the lawyer line could assist .....don’t know the Legal aid position on JRs….. probably not available…

     
JAS1
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Dan Manville - 04 August 2017 12:29 PM

I thought they’d acted against Alan Barham but a quick google  proves me wrong…

Hadn’t heard of that. What a depressing read.

     
Mike Hughes
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Resurrecting this because…

IAS investigated my complaint but couldn’t get comment from the HCP because she wasn’t available smile Took two goes (and no threat of a JR) to get them to that point. I found that citing the provider guidance back at them was sufficient to pin them into a corner.

About to tell them I’ll wait (amongst other things).

However, was worth doing as they have conceded that insufficient questions were asked on 2 activities and referred the matter back to DWP who have now made the client an “offer”.

I’m inclined to advise to refuse the “offer” as I suspect it will be for standard rate DL when clt. has a good shot at enhanced via a late appeal. Also of the view that the offer is not part of any legal process. They need to either decide to supersede or not. Wasn’t there a thread which mentioned the whole offer business? Can’t find it.

     
Elliot Kent
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Mike Hughes - 13 September 2017 11:02 AM

They need to either decide to supersede or not. Wasn’t there a thread which mentioned the whole offer business? Can’t find it.

There have been several.

The gist is that when the DWP decide that an appealed decision is wrong, they will no longer revise and lapse the appeal without the client’s agreement. Instead they will ring the client up and offer to revise - if the client refuses, then the appeal will continue but the DWP should write to the Tribunal recording their concessions.

Its entirely open to your client to accept the offer and then appeal it anyway.

     
Mike Hughes
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Cheers Elliot. That’s what I thought.

The catch in this case is that I submitted a very late appeal (as close to 13 months as I’ve ever had) and as yet I’ve not had any confirmation it has been admitted. So, there is a danger that if the client declines the “offer” they may decide to not supersede and the client may find the late appeal dead in the water.

So, I think the next task is to establish whether the late appeal has been admitted. If it has then my advice is going to be to decline the offer. Carries a risk in theory only I suspect.

     
Joanna
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I have now submitted a complaint to HCPC about their whole approach. They have asked for whole set of documentation without justifying why it would be relevant. I mean they have tried to justify it by saying that they “always” do it….
They insist on seeing the entire report of the medical examination, despite me saying my client would be horrified by this insensitive approach. They were not able to explain why the relevant pages were insufficient (i.e. pages identifying my client and a whole page of notes about the supposed physical examination which did not take place).
But the best bit is a whole lecture I have received from them about dishonesty:
“I note that you have elaborated upon the concern with information in relation to “dishonesty”. Please note that dishonesty is serious as it is a fundamental tenet of the HCPC’s standards for professionals that they should be honest and trustworthy. 
To allege someone has been dishonest, not only does there need to be evidence that what they said or did was incorrect, there also needs to be specific evidence regarding their state of mind - i.e. that they had the intention to mislead. Without specific evidence proving their state of mind, the fact that someone said something which may have been incorrect is insufficient to allege that they were dishonest. You would need to provide credible evidence (not just an accounts of events) to support dishonesty.”

Let me say that again: “You would need to provide credible evidence (not just an accounts of events) to support dishonesty.”

How?

Who on earth came up with a concept that a vulnerable complainant would be able to investigate the Registrant’s state of mind to present HCPC with conclusive proof of dishonesty?

So I wrote to Neil Coyle MP, who is investigating widespread allegations of dishonesty among healthcare professionals who assess disabled people. I have explained what happened and I have also commented on the attitude and approach adopted by the HCPC.

In the meantime, we have also received response from DWP; basically a litter tray liner which pompously announces that as they haven’t been there themselves, they cannot uphold my client’s complaint.

So my client (and his mother) are lying, right?

Conclusion: if you work for ATOS (whatever their toxic brand is called now), you are untouchable.

 

     
Elliot Kent
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Joanna - 13 September 2017 05:16 PM

“I note that you have elaborated upon the concern with information in relation to “dishonesty”. Please note that dishonesty is serious as it is a fundamental tenet of the HCPC’s standards for professionals that they should be honest and trustworthy. 
To allege someone has been dishonest, not only does there need to be evidence that what they said or did was incorrect, there also needs to be specific evidence regarding their state of mind - i.e. that they had the intention to mislead. Without specific evidence proving their state of mind, the fact that someone said something which may have been incorrect is insufficient to allege that they were dishonest. You would need to provide credible evidence (not just an accounts of events) to support dishonesty.”

Let me say that again: “You would need to provide credible evidence (not just an accounts of events) to support dishonesty.”

How?

Who on earth came up with a concept that a vulnerable complainant would be able to investigate the Registrant’s state of mind to present HCPC with conclusive proof of dishonesty?

Everything the HCPC are saying here is entirely correct. You can’t prove dishonesty without proving state of mind and (as you correctly identify) you aren’t ever going to be able to prove state of mind.

The solution is not to try and raise dishonesty in a complaint unless you have a cast iron case. You aren’t ever going to prove it. You can relatively easily prove the same allegation if you have framed it as negligence or a mistake.

     
Mike Hughes
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I concur with Elliot. I think complaints about HCPs are a hugely valuable tool in the arsenal but you have to look at the end game and what it is you want to achieve. Anything which bogs you down in the middle doesn’t move you towards your aim.

The logic of the complaint I refer to above was that, yet again, I had a claimant subject to functional tests within a PIP face to face which should not have taken place when the data was already in with the claim pack but also that the functional tests were not carried out to such accepted standards as there are and thus the results were not credible. For the first part I referenced their own provider guidance and for the second Google gave me what I needed. The aim though was very clear and four fold.

Firstly, supporting the client with the complaint meant that even though I’d emphasised that a complaint would not get them PIP they could see that I’d heard their distress and finally they had someone who was listening. Hugely valuable further down the line.

Secondly, I wanted them to concede both points, which would mean they had not conducted themselves in accordance with two sets of standards and would damage the credibility of the report irrefutably in front of an appeal panel. Not least because I make a point of including my complaint; their response and my further response to that etc.

Thirdly, it’s useful for providers to know that they cannot fall back on functional tests on the day as a matter of course and especially ones which are either discredited; have no agreed standards (the “whisper test” for hearing) or have very clearly defined (but breached) standards e.g. Snellen and Jaeger.

Fourthly, once re-examined I couldn’t see how extra points could not be recommended. Whether or not I agree with the amount (and I absolutely do not) there is huge value in being able to walk into an appeal hearing knowing that you literally don’t need to say anything further about a HCP report because it’s all there. None of that required me to accuse them of dishonesty. Had I done so I suspect they would have simply stood their ground.

I have a case at the moment which nearly mirrors yours. Brilliantly they have done two functional tests in breach of the provider guidance (Snellen and Jaeger again). Whilst the results are accurate on one despite breaching standards (Snellen) they are way off on the other (Jaeger reading test) which wholly undermines their credibility. However, what they’ve also done is invented/made-up/lied about a series of functional tests on physical impairment from an examination which simply didn’t take place. I sought advice on whether such results could be deduced from observation and didn’t need any more than Google to prove they could not.

Now, do I think they’ve been dishonest? Absolutely. It’s disgraceful professional conduct. Have I accused them of dishonesty? Nope. I have stuck to the anodyne. I have accused them of simply recording results from an examination which did not take place. No more no less. I have reminded them that this is a professional conduct issue and we reserve the right to raise the matter with appropriate professional body and so on. It’s likely we will do so.

I can script the response now. The HCP will not be available for comment. Too busy or off work etc. It’s a standard response which theoretically allows them a degree of protection against professional misconduct charges by allowing them to avoid incriminating themselves. However, I am also fairly confident that they will find a way to recommend more points. It doesn’t matter how many. Once they’ve conceded a screw up the credibility of the whole thing is shot. 

     
Joanna
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This is very helpful- thank you guys. I understand it a little bit better and will change my tactics.

     
Mike Hughes
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My hearing impaired client who elicited an offer of 2 to 8 on communication, which would give PIP DL @ SR based on a mere 10 points agreed with me we would decline the offer and proceed to late appeal. I am looking for PIP DL @ ER and PIP M @ standard rate.

Box out here but… Part of the latter argument is going to be a re-visit of the “sat nav is not an aid/appliance unless adapted in some way for a disabled person so that it could be considered a specialist orientation aid”.

However, much to our amusement DWP have now stepped in and invited the client to a meeting to discuss her “claimant experience”. We have politely suggested they can wait until the ATOS complaint is resolved (I’m not inclined to let that HCP miss out on the opportunity to comment :)) and until the late appeal is done.

I suspect a response coloured by 4 pts awarded on 1st claim after a poor HCP F2F; a poor MR and a late appeal is going to look even harsher after a late appeal I think will move us to between 15 or 23 pts. for DL before we even get to M.

Edited to edit out stupidity. Navigation aid not communication. Sigh.

      [ Edited: 19 Sep 2017 at 09:36 am by Mike Hughes ]
stevenmcavoy
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I have an absolute cracker of a medical report for esa that has somehow made It to the stage of getting a tribunal date.

person with learning disability.  accompanied by our staff as he gets a package of support from us, couldn’t count change from a pound, remember 3 objects, spell world and so on…..found fit to work.

I cant quite decide if this is the worst thing ive ever seen or the guy found fit who passed away by the time his appeal came around.

     
Mike Hughes
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Sadly what used to be an exceptionally poor case is increasingly just a routine part of the work. I am rapidly reaching the stage where nothing appalling actually amazes me. I kind of expect it.