Student optometrist referred to university’s fitness to practise committee
Yasmin (not her real name) was referred to her university’s Fitness to Practise Committee because she had parked outside her university displaying a blue badge (which allow disabled people and their carers to park in disabled bays) on three occasions without the owner of the badge present.
The referral was serious; as a student optometrist, not only must the university be satisfied that Yasmin was fit to study, the General Optical Council (GOC), can take action against her registration.
How we helped
As soon as she received the email from her university inviting her to attend the Fitness to Practise Committee meeting, Yasmin contacted the AOP legal team for advice and was assigned a solicitor in the Professional Discipline team.
Her solicitor reviewed and analysed all of the evidence against her as well as her university’s guidelines on conduct and discipline, and she met her solicitor to discuss her case. Yasmin’s solicitor explained that misusing a blue badge is serious for anyone, but especially serious for a healthcare professional who must act in way that upholds the reputation of the profession.
We worked with Yasmin to help her to understand the seriousness of her actions and guided her through drafting a witness statement which would later be presented to the Fitness to Practise Committee.
We also took a witness statement from a relative of the disabled badge owner who provided some context to her mistake, and ensured that this was provided to the committee in advance of the meeting.
Finally, Yasmin’s AOP solicitor helped her identify ways in which she could reflect on her actions and ensure that she didn’t repeat the mistakes she had made – she advised me that this would be important for the committee hearing my case.
On the day of the meeting, Yasmin’s solicitor attended with her to support and guide her through the process – she helped her plan how to present herself and stepping in when she was asked technical questions.
After the committee had heard the case presenter’s case and Yasmin’s evidence, it decided that although I had made a serious mistake, my fitness to practise was not impaired, and I received a warning.
Yasmin was really pleased with the result as it could have been a lot more serious.