A social worker convicted of possessing illegal drugs with intent of supply has escaped being removed from the social work register by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
The HCPC conduct hearing followed the social worker’s conviction of possessing a Cathinone derivative and another Class B drug with intent to supply in July 2013.
After pleading guilty to the offences in court she was given two concurrent community sentences for 12 months.
At last week’s hearing, the conduct panel ruled that her crimes had impaired her fitness to practise by damaging public confidence in her and the profession and by breaching the HCPC’s standards requiring social workers to behave with honesty and integrity.
The panel did consider removing her from the social work register, but decided that this would be too harsh as she had no previous convictions, had complied with her community sentence, and had shown remorse and insight.
The panel also noted that the registrant, who attended the conduct hearing, was under “extreme emotional pressure” at the time of the offences and that her crimes were unrelated to her work.
Instead it suspended her from the register for 12 months with a review of her suspension to be held before it expires to ensure she has continued with her rehabilitation and remains mentally fit to do social work.
“The registrant’s conviction of these offences was wholly incompatible with her registration and role as a social worker and must inevitably have damaged public confidence both in her and in her profession,” said panel chair Ian Hughes.
“The panel noted that the registrant remains subject to the community sentences until July 2014 and considered that it would be inappropriate for her to remain in unrestricted practice as a social worker whilst serving her sentence.”