Social worker warned over gap in dying man’s case records

Experienced practitioner admits failing to keep proper records but denies allegations that he asked the service user for a loan.

A palliative social worker has been admonished by the General Social Care Council (GSCC) after he failed for 10 months to keep records of therapeutic meetings he held with a man in his care.

The social worker, who has 36 years’ experience, admitted he failed to record his visits to the man between July 2009 and June 2010. He did not give a reason for doing so, saying only that his record keeping at the time had been poor and he had since adapted his practice.

The GSCC’s conduct committee also investigated earlier claims made by the patient that the social worker had asked him for a loan of money and, when he refused, started to talk to him about “voluntary euthanasia” or words to that effect.

However, the conduct committee did not find that allegation proved. The social worker flatly denied asking for a loan or mentioning euthanasia and the patient was not available for cross-examination because he is now deceased.

On the record keeping, the committee said: “Maintaining accurate and appropriately detailed records is a fundamental role of a professional social worker.

“Such records were crucial to ensure all members of the team responsible for the care of the patient remained informed and kept up to date on his care and welfare.”

However, it noted that the social worker had referred himself to the GSCC and had shown insight into his failings, including taking some rehabilitative steps.

It concluded that a nine-month admonishment was an appropriate sanction.

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