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‘Dishonesty is state of mind’: Pharmacist struck off over unpaid train tickets

A pharmacist who failed to tell her employer and the regulator about “three convictions for non-payment of train fares” has been removed from the register, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has revealed. 

A former Rowland’s pharmacist has been struck off the register for failing to disclose to her employer or the GPhC that she had received three convictions in 2017 for attempting to or “travelling on [a] railway without paying”, a fitness-to-practise (FtP) committee heard on December 18-21 2023.

Olutomi Olaide Adedeji, registration number 2075413, was referred to the GPhC by the multiple in March 2021 after she was dismissed from her employment at a Swindon Rowlands branch in the January of that year following a disciplinary investigation, according to the hearing document.

A regional leader at the pharmacy had noticed “marks on her Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate” after she had initially told the multiple that “she did not have any criminal convictions” at interview, it said.

The committee heard that Ms Olaide Adedeji had not provided a copy of her DBS certificate to her employer until she was “reminded on two occasions”, it added.

The GPhC also found that the pharmacist had not declared her convictions to the regulator on four occasions while reapplying for and renewing her registration in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The regulator said that “to her credit” the pharmacist accepted in Rowland’s “disciplinary process” that she was “dishonest” and “admitted her three convictions” during a disciplinary interview in January 2021.

The GPhC also admitted that the unpaid train ticket convictions were “relatively minor on the spectrum of criminal offending”.

But it stressed that her dishonesty had “occurred on several occasions during a period of nearly three years” and was “sustained, systematic and deliberate”.

 

“Systematic dishonesty”

 

The convictions - each of which she was fined £440 and ordered to pay compensation, a victim surcharge and costs for - were for offences committed in 2016 and 2017, the document said.

The GPhC acknowledged that this was several years before Ms Olaide Adedeji was first employed by Rowlands in May 2020 and admitted that the convictions were “spent” by the time of its hearing.

But it said that the convictions “must be considered in the round with [her] subsequent sustained and systematic dishonesty in her dealings with her employer and her regulator”.

And it added that it was “inconceivable that the registrant was not aware…of these convictions” in 2019 when she submitted an application to the GPhC for restoration of her name to the register following a previous removal for “failure to pay the requisite fee”.

Ms Olaide Adedeji answered “no” to a question on the application that asked if she had any previous convictions, according to the hearing document.

The question included the detail that certain “road traffic offences…will not be treated as a conviction for the purposes of registration and need not be declared”, it added.

However, the GPhC said that her “three convictions for non-payment of train fares” were “not road traffic offences and the registrant knew or ought to have known this was the case”.

 

“Verging on the historic”

 

The regulator accepted that there was “no evidence of patient harm” from Ms Olaide Adedeji’s actions and that it was not challenging her “clinical knowledge and skills”.

And it admitted that the convictions were “verging on the historic”.

But the GPhC stressed that there was also “no evidence” of remediation or remorse – apart from a “brief apology” in the disciplinary investigation when she had “little alternative” – or that she had “learned lessons” or undertaken mitigation.

And it said that she “demonstrated no insight into the impact of her behaviour on the reputation of the profession”.

Ms Olaide Adedeji “attempted to cover up her dishonesty” and there is “no suggestion” that she would have “self-disclosed the misconduct and convictions had she not been disciplined”, it added.

 

“Dishonesty is a state of mind”

 

The regulator said that Ms Olaide Adedeji “abused the trust of her employer and her regulator” for “personal gain” and that her actions were “deplorable”.

It found that “she committed three offences of dishonesty in 2016 and 2017” and “exacerbated that situation by dishonestly denying the existence of her three convictions to a potential employer”, in the course of her employment and to the regulator.

It said that “taken together, those dishonest activities” were “towards the upper end of the spectrum of dishonesty”.

“Dishonesty is a state of mind; it is a deep-seated attitudinal issue”, it added.

It also said that she breached another “fundamental” principle of the profession by failing to “demonstrate leadership”.

The regulator explained that “her colleagues discovered she had not been honest with them [and] she did not lead by example”.

 

“Disrespect to her regulator”

 

Ms Olaide Adedeji was “not in attendance” or represented at the hearing, according to the regulator.

It said that the hearing “was postponed from the original hearing date in October 2023” and that the only correspondence she had with the council was one email on October 19.

“Her absence demonstrates disrespect to her regulator and this committee and gives the committee no confidence the registrant will not repeat the dishonesty”, the GPhC said. 

It added that her punishment may have been less severe “if the registrant had participated in these proceedings”.

 

Removal a “proportionate response”

 

The GPhC found that Ms Olaide Adedeji'S fitness to practice was impaired due to her conviction and “misconduct”.

“Some acts of dishonesty are so serious that the committee should consider removal as the only proportionate and appropriate sanction” it said, adding that “members of the public…would be appalled” if no action were taken.

 

“Removal of the registrant’s name from the register is the proportionate response to her systematic and sustained misconduct”, the GPhC said. 

Read the determination in full here.

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