Radiographer struck off for being 'rude,' 'aggressive'

A U.K. tribunal has struck off a radiographer who reportedly made a series of basic mistakes, made a junior colleague cry, and was unprofessional and unpleasant to patients.

Fazal Karim was a registered Band 7 radiographer employed at Gloucestershire Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust between 1 February and 16 August 2019, according to an article posted on 5 March by the Gloucestershirelive news website.

His job was to oversee scans of patients, but he made a series of basic mistakes days into the role that left his colleagues questioning his skills and experience, the report noted. A Conduct and Competence Committee at the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) heard how the radiographer stepped into radioactive spills, spoke over colleagues, and failed to use basic protective equipment, it continued.

The hearing took place from 7 to 15 February. It was held at Hatherley Manor Hotel & Spa in Gloucester, and the full report is available on the HCPTS website.

One colleague recalled how an injection by Karim had gone into the tissues under the skin rather than into the vein. She remarked that he had not been open about the incident, stated Gloucestershirelive. On two other occasions in February 2019, Karim attempted to enter the gamma camera room when the CT scanner was warming up and later entered the CT suite when the machine was operating.

Another incident of concern happened after a used syringe fell out of the syringe holder and a small bit of residue was spilled on the floor. A colleague recalled that because of the radioactivity, there was a risk of contamination. Despite a colleague telling him to stop, Karim proceeded to step into the spillage to check the residue and became contaminated. She said that she thought he had been trying to be helpful but that he should have known the consequences of entering an area of a spill, according to the article.

Many coworkers also observed that he "still could not operate equipment properly" after several months and would forget information, Gloucestershirelive noted. Due to concerns about Karim's general competence and safe handling of unsealed sources, his manager told him it was unsafe for him to work independently, and he had to stop any work that was unsupervised and allow colleagues to oversee his work.

He was also placed on informal capability proceedings. Karim's manager also recalled he would talk over her and sometimes was "rude and condescending." One incident saw Karim reduce a colleague to tears, stated Gloucestershirelive.

"The Registrant said that he had challenged Colleague D and had asked for written evidence of permission to leave early. He said that he was frustrated and concerned about the tests he was meant to be taking that afternoon," the report said. "His evidence was largely concerned with the fact that Colleague A had not told him that she had earlier given Colleague D permission to leave. Whilst he may have felt undermined and annoyed by that, the Panel preferred the evidence of Colleague D and Colleague A, and it found that the Registrant was aggressive towards Colleague D and found this proved."

On 1 May 2019, he used offensive language and "was wholly unprofessional and inappropriate and in no circumstances could it be acceptable," the panel pointed out.

Following concerns about his conduct, Karim was suspended on 12 July 2019 and resigned on 16 August 2019. Karim later applied for a new role as a Band 6 Radiographer at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in 2020 and declared his last place of employment was Barts Health in London and not Gloucester NHS Trust, Gloucestershirelive noted.

Karim will not be able to work in healthcare again, the article said. While the panel acknowledged no patients were harmed and there were difficult personal circumstances and he expressed remorse, it found a failure to take personal responsibility and consistent deflection of responsibility onto colleagues.

"The Registrant has not taken responsibility for his own conduct and behaviour. He has not apologised for his conduct, including his conduct in respect of Colleague A and D," it stated. "He has not demonstrated any meaningful or genuine remorse. He has not shown that he accepts the negative impact of his conduct on his colleagues, the profession, or on public confidence in the profession. The Registrant has not remediated his practice. The training he has done is not relevant and the most recent training certificate is 2020."

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