Social worker who threw case file at manager can reregister

A stressed social worker who was struck off after throwing a case file at his manager is to be allowed to rejoin the register. (Picture: Isopix/Rex Features)

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A stressed social worker who was struck off after throwing a case file at his manager is to be allowed to rejoin the register.

Abraham Agbodo was employed by Hertfordshire Council to work at Chase Farm Hospital, Middlesex, where he was responsible for assessing and arranging care packages and residential and nursing placements for patients between 2006 and November 2009.

But he was dismissed in February 2010 for gross misconduct following a series of incidents, and the General Social Care Council removed him from the register in February 2011.

The regulator’s conduct committee found Agbodo had failed to arrange discharge care packages for two patients.

He had also behaved inappropriately towards colleagues and service users. In one incident, he admitted “lobbing” a file at his manager, a former friend who had been promoted ahead of Agbodo while he was on leave.

However, the First-tier (Care Standards) Tribunal reviewed the case and found there were mitigating circumstances.

Agbodo was an experienced social worker, having qualified in 1998. But the social work team at Chase Farm Hospital comprised of only three social workers, one of whom was newly qualified, and three care workers.

The tribunal noted that, after the Community Care (Delayed Discharges) Act 2003 came into force, social services departments could be fined £120 for each patient whose discharge was delayed due to the absence of a care package.

“The pressure on the department was consequently increased,” the tribunal found.

In addition, Agbodo had taken sick leave due to work-related matters before moving to the Chase Farm Hospital team. The tribunal said this “suggests a fragility we should bear in mind when judging his behaviour”.

The tribunal panel, led by Gillian Irving QC, upheld the GSCC’s findings of fact and admitted that Agbodo “did not take criticism well”.

But it concluded that a period of suspension would have been a more suitable sanction. As Agbodo has been unable to work since the hearing in February, the tribunal instructed he should be allowed to re-apply for registration immediately.

Read the full judgement

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