A domiciliary care worker, based in Bangor, has had conditions placed on her registration for 21 months after a hearing found her fitness to practise is currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
Emma Hughes was accused of failing to make sure accurate financial records were kept and failing to make sure staff received adequate training while working as an assistant team manager at a domiciliary care service between 2017 and 2019.
Ms Hughes was also accused of behaving in an inappropriate way towards a vulnerable person using the service in February 2019 and threatened to take their care services away.
Ms Hughes, who was present at the six-day hearing that took place over Zoom last week, admitted to some of the charges, telling the panel she was aware staff were borrowing money belonging to a vulnerable person receiving care and support from the service and failed to report the possible financial abuse.
Ms Hughes also admitted she failed to make sure all the money belonging to the vulnerable person was accounted for and that she completed monthly returns without knowing if the financial information was correct.
In addition, Ms Hughes admitted allowing staff to use personal email accounts to send and receive confidential information and that she failed to make sure staff received appropriate supervision.
After considering the evidence and Ms Hughes’s admissions, the panel concluded that some of Ms Hughes’s conduct was dishonest and lacked integrity, and that her fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
Explaining its decision, the panel said: “Ms Hughes acted dishonestly when she failed to report the misuse of [the vulnerable person’s] money.
“We have also found that she engaged inappropriately with [another person using the service] causing [them] emotional distress, which was observed by home carers to have persisted over a number of weeks.
“Although she did not have the key role in management of the home care team, Ms Hughes played a significant part in the failure to supervise and train other staff.”
The panel therefore decided to place conditions on Ms Hughes’s registration for 21 months.
Explaining its decision, the panel said: “Ms Hughes has worked in social care for 20 years and has no previous regulatory history. We accept that she was working under significant workplace pressure and that many of the difficulties were associated with her taking a management role to which, she accepts, she was unsuited.
“Most significantly, we noted that Ms Hughes expressed insight and remorse.”
The panel continued: “[W]e are confident that [our proposed conditions] are workable and we are satisfied that they are proportionate. They will allow Ms Hughes to return to work without the public being exposed to unacceptable risk.”