Tuesday 17 September 2019

Care assistant called resident 'fat f****** b******' and complained call bell was used 'for stupid stuff'

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Lisa Smyth

A care assistant who called a resident of a home in which he was working a "fat f****** b******" has been struck off.

Alan Stewart Vance was also found guilty of referring to a second resident in a "foul and derogatory manner".

The incidents happened while he was working as an adult residential care worker at Cregagh Nursing Home in Belfast during a night shift on July 10, 2017.

A fitness to practise hearing also found Vance guilty on the same night of removing a call bell from a resident and closing his bedroom door as he was "doing his head in".

An agency nurse, who was working her first shift at the home, described his behaviour as "horrendous".

The Northern Ireland Social Care Council also found Vance was not properly completing patient records, and concerns were raised that he was "making the records up".

Vance started working at the home on February 7 last year and was suspended on August 3 after a number of complaints from staff in relation to his conduct.

The fitness to practise committee considered four allegations against Vance relating to the night of July 10 last year.

The panel heard that Vance told two colleagues that he had turned off a service user's bell, had removed his hand bell and had closed his bedroom door.

A third colleague told the panel that Vance also told her he had removed the service user's buzzer, prompting her to return it to his room. She also told the committee that for the rest of the shift she answered the service user's buzzer.

The committee heard that during the shift Vance described service user 'R' to a colleague as a "fat b******" and that he was only ringing his bell for "stupid stuff".

She went to the resident and spoke to him about this and he told her: "It'll be okay."

Another colleague told the committee she had seen Vance coming from the same resident's room saying "that f****** fat b******".

The panel was told Vance originally denied doing this during an investigation by the home on August 2.

He later claimed he could not remember doing this during a subsequent disciplinary hearing.

In another incident on the same night, a colleague working on the first floor of the home heard the buzzer of a resident from the ground floor where Vance was working.

She responded to the buzzer and discovered the resident needed help to go to the toilet.

When she asked Vance to assist, he referred to the resident in a derogatory way and she said he appeared unhappy about having to help the resident to go to the toilet.

The panel also heard that colleagues had raised concerns between February, when Vance started working at the home, and August, that he was not doing his paperwork properly.

As a result, other staff had to complete this work, while it also appeared as though he was not carrying out essential safety checks.

Considering the facts of the case, the committee said removing the call bell "constituted a serious abuse of care, and was a deliberate act which left this service user at risk".

His use of foul language "signified a lack of respect" for residents and a "total disregard for their dignity and uniqueness", the committee said, while the failure to complete paperwork "constitutes a fundamental failure in the provision of safe and appropriate care for service users".

Vance was found guilty of serious misconduct and that his fitness to practise was impaired.

The panel found no evidence of regret and said a removal order was the "only sanction sufficient to protect the public".

Belfast Telegraph

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