Farah v Nursing & Midwifery Council [2014] EWHC 1655 (Admin)

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The appellant was employed as a nurse at University College London Hospital. Between 13 June 2009 and 27 August 2009, the appellant was off sick and receiving sick pay from the Hospital. The appellant received the sum of £2,517.86. However, between this period of time he was working at King’s College Hospital. The appellant was convicted after trial and sentenced to a suspended sentence order with community requirements. 

At a substantive hearing before a panel of the respondent’s Conduct and Competence Committee, the appellant accepted the conviction but denied that his fitness to practise was impaired. The appellant was able to provide references attesting to his good character and work as a nurse. The appellant submitted that he had learnt from the experience but maintained that his former employer was at fault as they had not followed the correct guidelines in respect of dealing with MRSA. The Committee considered that as a result of the appellant’s conviction, it had no doubt that his behaviour fell far below the standard expected of a registered nurse. The Committee considered that the appellant had abused his position as a registered nurse for his own financial gain and in doing so his actions had been dishonest and illegal. The Committee took into account the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession and concluded that the appellant had failed to show sufficient insight into his conviction.

The appellant appealed against the Committee’s decision on sanction.

The court noted that it would not interfere with the decision of a panel unless it considers it to be wrong. Given the conviction was accepted by the appellant, the only question for the Committee prior to sanction was whether the appellant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of the conviction. The court held that although not every conviction of a criminal offence will result in a finding of unfitness, in this case the appellant’s behaviour had been dishonest and occurred over a period of time during which the appellant deliberately defrauded his employer out of money. There was no basis on which to criticise the decision of the panel. Appeal dismissed.

The court cited The Queen on Application of Olafare v Nursing & Midwifery Council [2014] EWHC 767 (Admin) and Nicholas-Pillai v General Medicail Council [2009] EWHC 1048 (Admin)