A PHYSIOTHERAPIST who almost toppled over an immobile patient while attaching her to an electric hoist has been suspended from the profession.

Marin Stinca made numerous blunders treating six patients while working at the Great Western NHS Foundation Trust between January and March last year.

The Band 5 physiotherapist kept ‘vague’ clinical notes and showed a lack of competence while working on the rehabilitation ward at Savernake Hospital in Marlborough and when assessing and treating patients in their homes.

On one occasion Stinca’s line manager had to intervene because he was pulling the straps of an electric hoist too tightly around a patient’s legs, which could have led to her being pulled off her feet.

Concerns were raised about his behaviour and he was transferred from the community team to the Musculo Skeletal Out–Patient Department in Salisbury Hospital – where he worked for only two days before handing in his notice after further concerns were flagged up.

Stinca’s line manager at Savernake Hospital said the physiotherapist required so much direction that it was ‘like having a permanent student’ on the ward, and his supervisor said he needed ‘constant supervision’ while working in the community.

His case was brought before the Heath & Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS) in London where 14 allegations were found proved by a panel, who decided the physiotherapist’s failings were related to a lack of competence in the profession rather than misconduct.

The physiotherapist was found to have recorded unclear notes with a lack of clinical reasoning and provided inadequate assessments.

His failings included giving complicated instructions to a patient suffering from dementia during an assessment and not asking about how much pain she was experiencing while getting out of bed, despite her showing obvious signs of discomfort.

He was cleared of 11 other allegations related to poor record-keeping, not demonstrating adequate or clear clinical reasoning and prescribing inappropriate exercises to a patient.

The HCPTS panel noted ‘recurring themes’ in his poor practice related to ‘inadequate initial assessments, including not recording range of movements and muscle strength, and an absence of treatment plans, goals and clinical reasoning.’

They noted his inability to meet the required standard, even with considerable support and supervision, and decided his fitness to practice was impaired.

In their conclusions, the panel said: “Members of the public would be extremely concerned to learn that a physiotherapist working with vulnerable patients was unable to work as an autonomous practitioner, as this clearly has the potential to compromise the safety and well-being of patients.

“The Registrant’s practice fell far below the standard expected of a registered physiotherapist and the Panel concluded that, until the Registrant has remediated his clinical deficiencies, he continues to pose a risk to patients.”

Stinca, who joined the Great Western NHS Foundation Trust in November 2015, did not attend his hearing but sent an email to the HCPTS in August which stated: ‘I will do my best to attend the hearing, but in case I will not be able to attend due to any unforeseeable circumstances, I have full confidence in Panel’s judgment.’

He was suspended from physiotherapy for six months.