Tag Archives: pharmacist

Fitness to Practice Committee – Legal Representation

Regulatory and crime solicitor Martin Hadley recently represented a  pharmacist before the Fitness to Practice Committee.  His client faced allegations of dishonesty as well as  breaches of the Responsible Pharmacist & Controlled Drug Regulations.

A lack of early expert advice

In this case the Local Health Board acted upon issues raised by a “whistleblower”. Once the issues had been raised by the Board, our client’s then employer pursued a further investigation.

What was clearly a lengthy and often fraught disciplinary investigation then followed.  Unfortunately, rather than seek specialist legal advice, our client relied on guidance from informal advisers.  This remained the position throughout this stage of the process.

fitness to practice pharmacist legal advice solicitor

As a result our client had no idea that the evidence from this disciplinary investigation could and would be used in proceedings before the General Pharmaceutical Council and the fitness to practice committee.

Late instructions

Our client came to us very late in the process.  The case had already been heard by the Investigating Committee of the General Pharmaceutical.  A decision had already been made that there was evidence against the pharmacist upon which a decision could be made that fitness to practice as a pharmacist was impaired.

By the time Martin received instructions the evidence in the case was substantial.  The bundle of paperwork provided by the General Pharmaceutical Council was significant.  The page count was well over 500, comprising statements and exhibits.

Martin took our client’s full instructions.  This allowed us to make representations to the Council’s solicitors regarding the strength of their evidence on the dishonesty matters.  They agreed with Martin and the allegations were amended to remove certain aspects of the  dishonesty .

As part of our preparation Martin produced a bundle of documents to go before the fitness to practice committee for consideration.  This not only included documents in support of his client’s case but also admissions to be made by both parties as part of the hearing.

The fitness to practice hearing

At the hearing the General Pharmaceutical Council solicitors called two witnesses in support of their case.  Martin cross-examined them.  The questioning led the members of the Committee to agreeing that there was no case to answer in respect of one of the dishonesty allegations.

Once Martin’s client had given evidence the Committee announced that the Council had failed to prove the remaining matter of dishonesty.

A decision still had to be made as to whether Martin’s client was impaired in relation to practicing.  Martin made detailed representations based following his client’s evidence.  Taking these into account the Fitness to Practice Committee decided that our client was not currently impaired and was free to continue to practice

Contact Crime and Regulatory Solicitor Martin Hadley

pharmacist fitness to practice legal advice
Crime and regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley

Earlier advice and representation by an expert regulatory solicitor may well have made the entire process less fraught for our client.  We will always have an eye on the likely effect of an earlier investigation on later disciplinary procedures.

As a result, if you are notified that there is to be an investigation into any aspect of your practice please contact Martin immediately.  He can be reached by phone on 0115 9599550 or by email here.  Martin will be able to advise you wherever you are based in the country.  This will ensure that you make the correct decisions early on in your case.

General Pharmaceutical Council Investigation

Nottingham based crime and regulatory lawyer Martin Hadley recently represented a pharmacy technician who was before the Investigating Committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council.

General Pharmaceutical Council

At the client’s request we had taken over his case from another firm of solicitors who had attempted to deal with his case to conclusion during the investigation stage but had failed to do so.  As a result his case had moved on to the formal disciplinary process before the Committee.  In the referral, a recommendation had been made that Martin’s client receive a warning.

Martin’s client faced allegations that:

• He had received a formal police caution for a serious criminal offence; and,
• His fitness to practise was impaired by reason of the caution.

Martin requested a copy of the file from the General Pharmaceutical Council and reviewed the papers generated in the investigation stage by the former solicitors.

Taking advantage of current technology, Martin undertook a lengthy video conference with the client to seek his full instructions. During that meeting Martin was able to give full advice on the factual basis of the concessions to be made and gain full details of the mitigating circumstances and advise upon potential outcomes.

On the basis of this meeting and consideration of the papers Martin was able to draft a persuasive letter of representations.  The client was then able to  approve the letter.  It was submitted in good time for the hearing.

As a result of Martin’s representations the the Committee reached the conclusion  “take no further action” having taken into account the nature of the caution and the mitigation that could be offered.

Martin’s client was very happy with the result, particularly bearing in mind that the Council’s original recommendation.

Contact Us

General Pharmaceutical Council representationWe know that such referrals can have serious effect on a person working in this sector.  The Investigating Committee has the option of referring the case to the Fitness to Practice Committee.  It has additional powers of its own, including giving a recordable warning, advice, agreeing undertakes or recommending criminal prosecutions.

Neither the Investigation Stage nor the Investigating Committee stage can be taken lightly.  Decisions made early in a case can affect the entirety of proceedings.  As a result, it is extremely important to seek expert advice straight away.

If you are a pharmacist or pharmacy technician and face investigation then please contact Martin Hadley immediately on 0115 9599550 or email him here.  He will give you information on our competitive private fees and explain what helpful steps can be taken immediately on  your behalf.