Social worker struck off for offering whisky to alcoholic client

A social worker who offered whisky to a client he helped through detox for alcohol dependency has been struck off.

Craig McLoughlin, 54, who was employed by Sheffield Council to work for Sheffield Care Trust in mental health services, was found by the General Social Care Council’s conduct committee to have been “very drunk” at the time he offered to buy an alcoholic drink for the service user.

McLoughlin, who was not present at the two-day hearing, accepted in a statement that he had a drinking problem.

The committee took into account mitigating factors set out in McLoughlin’s witness statement as well as his previous good record.

Admitted abusing power

However, it decided to remove him from the register because he would “continue to pose a risk to people who use services until such time as he had addressed the problem”. There was no evidence to show he had sought professional help.

The committee also found McLoughlin had said to his client, around the anniversary of his father’s death, words to the effect of “don’t worry about your dad; I’ll be your dad”, and told people in a pub he was the man’s social worker.

McLoughlin admitted in a witness statement in 2005 that he had “abused his power” and had made “inappropriate comments”.

The conduct committee concluded there had been a “serious departure” from the standards set out in the code of practice and cited sections relating to maintaining the trust of service users and upholding confidence in social care services.

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