A domiciliary care manager from Abergele has been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a Social Care Wales hearing found her fitness to practise is currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
Joanne Heather was working as a manager for a domiciliary care agency when she failed to make sure all the clients using the service had detailed care plans in place and failed to make sure clients received visits in accordance with their care plans.
The hearing was told that on more than one occasion Ms Heather failed to visit a vulnerable client as planned for an evening call. On another occasion Ms Heather was accused of failing to attend a planned call and leaving the vulnerable person in an unlocked house overnight having not had their medication. She then instructed a staff member to falsely complete records to cover up her failures.
The hearing was also told that Ms Heather failed to attend other planned visits, instructed other caregivers to carry out double handed calls alone and falsely claimed payments for visits she did not attend.
In addition, the hearing was told that Ms Heather agreed to increase a client’s care package when she was unable to fulfil it.
After considering the evidence, the panel concluded that Ms Heather’s fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
The panel explained its decision, saying: “That this conduct should be perpetrated by someone occupying the role of care manager and registered with Social Care Wales as domiciliary care manger, is shocking. It very obviously breached the trust that vulnerable people and their families placed in Ms Heather to provide the safe and appropriate care that they were entitled to expect.”
The panel continued: “We find that, in some instances, the conduct amounted to cruelty. In our view, the failures to visit [a vulnerable person], and thereby leaving her without her medication and leaving her, alone, in an unlocked house overnight cannot be fairly described in any other terms.
“To cover her failures to visit, Ms Heather instructed the dishonest completion of care records to hide that fact, thereby preying on [the person in her care’s] inherent vulnerabilities, in the knowledge that there might be some hesitation before accepting [her] word that nobody had visited as genuine.
“We consider it no exaggeration to say that this conduct, as well as that which we have more generally found proved, would be regarded with disgust by the public and the profession.”
The panel added: “We consider that in the absence of any real insight or remorse, it is unlikely that Ms Heather would make different decisions or behave differently in the future.”
The panel decided to remove Ms Heather from the Register, saying: “[T]here has been a serious departure from the relevant standards set out in the Code. We do not consider that any lesser disposal would protect the public, given the lack of both insight and remediation – and the findings of cruelty, dishonesty and lack of integrity we have made.”
Ms Heather was not present at the five-day remote hearing, which took place over Zoom last week.