Kathleen Duffy, an adult care home manager from Prestatyn, has been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a Social Care Wales hearing found her fitness to practise was impaired.
The hearing heard that Mrs Duffy told staff to take cash payments for residents’ fees to her home while she was employed as a manager at Beach Court Care Home in the town from late 2012 until August 2015.
Mrs Duffy was also accused of failing to keep adequate records of residents’ money, allowing this money to be used for reasons that didn’t benefit the residents, completing records retrospectively and falsifying signatures on the records.
When the financial irregularities were discovered in August 2015, North Wales Police carried out an initial investigation but Mrs Duffy wasn’t prosecuted.
Mrs Duffy co-operated fully with the investigation by Social Care Wales and gave evidence at the five-day hearing last week at Venue Cymru in Llandudno. But the committee found “important elements of her evidence… were not credible”.
Mrs Duffy admitted to telling staff to bring cash payments for residents’ fees to her home and completing financial records retrospectively. She also accepted her record keeping in relation to the residents’ pocket money was inadequate despite having a legal and professional duty to make sure it was kept up-to-date.
The hearing heard evidence from nine witnesses including care workers at the home, the home’s owners and members of Mrs Duffy’s family.
Having considered the evidence, the committee found a number of occasions in which the residents’ pocket money records didn’t tally with the daily notes taken and instances where this money had been used in ways that didn’t benefit the residents.
Carers from the home would also be given residents’ money to cover expenses such as shopping and travel, but there were only a few examples of change being returned to the residents.
Additionally, the committee concluded that Mrs Duffy falsified signatures on financial records.
After hearing all the evidence, the committee decided that Mrs Duffy’s fitness to practise was impaired because of her misconduct.
The committee expressed concern that Mrs Duffy hadn’t acknowledged any dishonesty on her part before it reached its decision, instead blaming the home’s owners and junior members of staff.
She also hadn’t accepted the culture in the home was inappropriate nor shown any remorse other than to apologise for her poor record keeping.
The committee said: “Mrs Duffy has not demonstrated any insight into her lack of managerial skills. In considering the risk of repetition, we could not say that the underlying causes of her misconduct, which include dishonesty, have been remedied.”
The committee therefore decided to impose a Removal Order saying that “Mrs Duffy behaved dishonestly and that she abused the trust placed in her by residents’ families.
“She tried through the creation of false records to conceal misuse of residents’ pocket money. This gave rise to financial harm to the residents at some level over a prolonged period and it affected a number of the more vulnerable individuals within the home.”
Mrs Duffy is currently working in a senior care role that doesn’t require registration. The committee noted: “The evidence before us does not suggest that Mrs Duffy is unsuitable for work in a care role providing the role does not involve either management or administration of residents’ money.”