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Sanction for north care worker who ‘taunted’ vulnerable man and hid him under duvet

Colchester Square in Lochgilphead, where care worker Gareth James was working.
Colchester Square in Lochgilphead, where care worker Gareth James was working.

A north care worker who “taunted” a man in his care and used racist language has been sanctioned by the industry watchdog.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has given Gareth James a 36-month warning following a number of incidents in Lochgilphead.

At a hearing last week, it found the care at home and housing support worker was unfit to practice.

The SSSC panel heard concerns had been raised regarding Mr James’ behaviour with a number of vulnerable adults in October 2018.

This included an incident on October 10 when he was caring for a man, named in the watchdog’s decision report as AA.

It found evidence that, on two occasions, Mr James pulled away a water bottle as the man went to drink.

Both times, he taunted him by saying: “Got you there”.

Later that day, when AA was lying on his back in bed, Mr James pulled the duvet up and over the man’s head.

He was challenged by a colleague regarding this, but responded: “Who would know, it’s not as if he can tell anyone.”

The following day Mr James was caring for someone else, named BB, and noted in their care report they had been sleeping.

At the time, BB had been awake and talking.

Mr James was again challenged regarding this but said “who’ll know,” telling his colleague that no-body reads the care reports.

The SSSC said: “Your colleagues rely on the information within the care report being accurate so that the needs of the service users can be continually accurately assessed.

“Your downplaying of the need to maintain an accurate care plan to your colleague is therefore very concerning and demonstrates an abuse of the trust placed in you by your employer.”

The watchdog said Mr James failed to treat AA with respect and dignity, and his behaviour “breaches the fundamental tenets of the profession”.

It also criticised the care worker for using racist language when speaking to a colleague.

When asked what he meant by “Hamilton Accies” in a conversation, he responded using an offensive term.

The SSSC said Mr James was “inexperienced” when the incidents took place, as he had only begun working in the sector in June 2018.

It said: “While your actions were not premeditated or done through malice, they do still warrant a serious cause for concern.

“There is a concern that you could act in a similar manner in the future if your behaviour were not marked as unacceptable.”

It was acknowledged that Mr James had shown regret for his actions, and was given a 36-month warning.

This will remain attached to his registration during this period, flagging up the incident to any further potential employers.