A domiciliary care worker from Rhondda Cynon Taf 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.
The two-day hearing was told that in May 2020, Alisha Masters went to a social gathering in breach of the coronavirus regulations in Wales at that time and then lied about it to her manager.
Four months later, in September 2020, Ms Masters falsely told her manager she’d been in contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19, giving the impression she needed to self-isolate. She then travelled to Spain for a holiday and lied to her manager about her whereabouts during that period.
On the first day of the hearing, held over Zoom last week, Ms Masters admitted the allegations and said she regretted her actions, saying it was the “biggest mistake” she’d ever made.
After considering the evidence, the panel decided that Ms Masters’s fitness to practise was currently impaired because of serious misconduct.
Explaining its decision, the panel told Ms Masters: “You have admitted to breaching the regulations put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on two occasions. On the second occasion you tried to conceal the fact that you had travelled to Spain by creating quite elaborate false accounts.
“You had opportunities to tell the truth and did not take them. Instead, you ‘dug a deeper hole’ by telling another lie to your employer. As you rightly accept, this could have exposed individuals who are vulnerable to serious illness to greater risk of infection.
“This was repeated misconduct rather than a ‘one off’ incident. You breached the regulations putting the individuals you were supporting at increased risk in May 2020, were warned about that conduct, and then breached the regulations in a more sophisticated way in September 2020. Your dishonesty was repeated and became more sophisticated when your original account was challenged.”
The panel continued: “We took careful account of your submissions, evaluating your level of insight and remorse. Even with what you told us about your regret at your actions and the better position in which you now find yourself, we cannot be confident that if you were in a similar position in the future, you would not behave in the same way. Your integrity is, therefore, still in doubt.”
The panel decided to remove Ms Masters from the Register, saying: “[A] Removal Order is the only appropriate option given that there is continuing risk of harm, that you showed repeated dishonesty to cover up breach of the regulations and that you departed significantly from the standards set out in the Code [of Professional Practice for Social Care].”