A carer who injured a nurse during a violent row about opening a window is still working at the care home where she attacked her colleague.
Jolanta Gorska, 59, denied assaulting 38-year-old agency nurse Lorna Mackenzie while they worked together at Cameron House on Culduthel Road, Inverness.
But Gorska was found guilty of pushing, grabbing, and twisting Mrs Mackenzie’s hands to her injury after a trial at Inverness Sheriff Court.
She was fined £350 with a £20 victim surcharge for her violent outburst and is now at the centre of an “internal review” being carried out by the care home operator.
But the Press and Journal can reveal that Gorska, of Culduthel Court, Slackbuie Ave, Inverness, is still working shifts at Cameron House in the meantime – two weeks after her criminal conviction.
And her assault victim has spoken of her worry for the well-being of Gorska’s other colleagues and the residents she cares for.
“She’s very short-tempered. She just snaps – like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” Mrs Mackenzie said.
“My main concern is that Jolanta’s still working at the care home and management is not acknowledging the seriousness of what she’s done.”
Cameron House is home to 30 residents and is run by CrossReach, the operating name for the Church of Scotland’s Social Care Council, which delivers services to the elderly.
When The P&J telephoned the care home on Tuesday and asked to speak with Gorska, the manager Lisa MacKenzie answered the call.
She told us: “She was actually here this morning, but she’s away home now. She’s normally working night shifts”.
When asked if she was aware of Gorska’s recent conviction, the manager replied: “I can’t make a comment.”
‘Altercation’ was ‘isolated incident’
A spokesman for CrossReach later said the safety of its residents and staff is a “top priority” and any concerns are taken “extremely seriously”.
He stressed that the “altercation” between a CrossReach employee and an agency nurse during a night shift on October 25 2022 was “an isolated incident”.
The spokesman added: “No residents were involved in this altercation.
“The matter was investigated at the time and referred to the Scottish Social Services Council in line with best practice guidelines.
“In light of the outcome of the court case, a fresh internal review is now underway and it would be inappropriate to comment on confidential matters involving individual employees.”
Speaking after the guilty verdict that led to Gorska being handed a £370 penalty, her victim said she was disappointed with the punishment.
“I thought the sentence was soft. It doesn’t make me feel that she’s being held accountable for her actions,” Mrs Mackenzie said.
‘It was like she was possessed’
Recalling the assault, Mrs Mackenzie added: “It was like she was possessed. I get embarrassed telling people this was all over a window.
“We had just finished the rounds and it was quite hot and stuffy in the front lounge.
“But Jolanta said she was cold and as I went to open the window she came at me like a bat out of hell.
“She pushed me away from the window and grabbed my hands so I couldn’t move. She twisted them and scratched me, saying, ‘You don’t work here’.
“She wouldn’t let go of me even though I was shouting, ‘Let go, back off’. I was in shock, and she walked away like nothing had happened.”
Mrs Mackenzie, who also works as a staff nurse at Raigmore Hospital, said Gorska left her with red marks and scratches on her skin.
“I had to get a tetanus jab because she pierced my skin with her long nails,” she added.
Gorska remains registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to work unrestricted as a support worker/practitioner in a care home service for adults.
But a spokeswoman for the SSSC has confirmed that it’s “aware” of last year’s assault and the outcome of Gorska’s trial a fortnight ago.
“We do not comment on complaints we have received or cases under investigation until after any hearing,” she explained.
“When we receive an allegation that a worker’s fitness to practise may be impaired, we will consider whether there is an issue about a social service worker’s suitability to remain on the Register.
“In cases where we believe there is a heightened risk we can impose a Temporary Order to temporarily suspend a person from the Register pending a full investigation.”
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