A social worker suspended for sending case files to her personal email account and a law firm will remove herself from the register.
A Health and Care Professions Council panel handed a third suspension to the social worker to give her time to organise a voluntary removal from the register, rather than be struck off.
In 2014 the registrant was found to have sent emails containing case-related material to her personal email account, shared case information with a solicitors firm, and also sent information from a colleague’s electronic folder to a solicitors firm when she didn’t have authorisation.
She also failed to complete plans for approximately 15 cases.
In the initial hearing it was revealed that the social worker sent emails to the solicitors to help her with employment issues, after she had raised a grievance regarding bullying and harassment.
However, the panel concluded that the inclusion of case materials in the emails sent to solicitors had breached confidentiality.
It added that while she was working in a “busy and stressful” environment, “confidentiality and record keeping are basic fundamental aspects of any professional’s practice”.
The HCPC decided the failings could be remedied, and she was suspended for 12 months, which was extended last year.
Not fit for practice
However, at a review hearing last month, the social worker told the panel she was not fit for practice, and asked for a further suspension to remove herself from the register.
“The registrant accepted each of the allegations found proved by the original panel… She told the panel that she had done nothing to keep her practice up to date. She told the panel that she wanted to be removed from the register but she wished to do so by consent rather than by a striking off order,” the judgment said.
The social worker told the HCPC that “there was a context” to the initial allegations, but “she fully understood the need to protect the public and the dangers her actions posed for service users”.
She was suspended for a further six months to enable her to remove herself from the register.