A physiotherapist who had opened a clinic as a sole practitioner appealed against a decision by the Health Professions Council Conduct and Competence Committee to strike his name from its register of practitioners, following a complaint by a female patient. The Committee had found that the physiotherapist’s fi tness to practise was impaired by reason of his insensitivity when treating patients in a state of partial undress involving an intimate area of the body, and struck him off as a result. He appealed on the basis that the misconduct was not suffi cient to amount to impairment and the sanction was disproportionate.

The Administrative Court held that the Committee had had ample evidence to make a fi nding of impairment but that the sanction of suspension should be viewed as a sanction of last resort. It quashed the Committee’s decision to strike the physiotherapist’s name from the register and referred the case back to the Committee to consider the imposition of a lesser sanction.

Howlett v Health Professions Council [2009] All ER (D) 87 (Dec)