A mental health social worker who took a service user canoeing in her spare time has been struck off for breaches of professional boundaries.
Judith Blood, formerly employed by Bolton Council, did not make any records of the outing, which took place in October 2008. Nor did she report it when the same service user turned up at her house later that year and again in March 2009.
Blood’s team manager subsequently told her not to engage in any further conversations with the man, a General Social Care Council conduct committee heard.
But two weeks later Blood spoke to him on the phone and proceeded to breach confidentiality by discussing another client with him.
“She showed a lack of understanding of the professional boundaries between work and home and she failed to follow instructions from her line manager in relation to that,” the committee said, finding misconduct proved.
Blood did not attend the hearing but the committee took into account the fact that she had no previous disciplinary matters on record, and that she had been under “considerable personal stress” at the time due to bereavement.
However, her behaviour showed a “worrying lack of insight” and demonstrated a “disregard for professional boundaries”, the committee found. Blood has been removed from the social care register.
“As soon as we became aware of inappropriate conduct by this employee, we acted swiftly to launch an investigation and hold a disciplinary hearing, which resulted in the termination of her employment,” said a spokesperson for Bolton Council. “We also referred her immediately to the GSCC.”