Social worker suspended over alcohol misuse allowed to return to work

The man provided evidence to show he has sufficient coping mechanisms in place now and can hold down a full-time job

Fitness to practise hearing

A social worker who was suspended from the register in 2011 has been told he can return to practise now that his alcohol misuse is under control.

The General Social Care Council (GSCC) suspended the man after hearing he had failed to attend work on three occasions due to the misuse of alcohol, and twice failed to inform his employer he would be absent.

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) reviewed the case in December 2012 after taking over from the GSCC. It decided to extend the period of suspension until February 2014, finding that there were still concerns over the extent of the man’s recovery.

Another HCPC panel reviewed the suspension last December. This time, the man produced evidence to show he has been able to work successfully in a non-social work job.

He produced a reference from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, where he is working as a volunteer, which confirmed his satisfactory attendance and progress.

And his GP stated that the man has been free from his health problems for about three years and could now return to gainful employment.

The HCPC concluded that the social worker “has demonstrated that he has made considerable inroads into proving that he can work again without recourse to the problems that triggered this case to be brought”.

It also noted that he has now been suspended for some three years. “With careful medical and employment supervision, he should be given the chance to return to his chosen profession.”

He must meet 12 conditions of practice over the next year, after which the case will be reviewed again.

These include: completing refresher training with any future social work employer; informing his GP of the conditions of practice and authorising the GP to provide the HCPC with information about the man’s health; and informing the HCPC of any disciplinary action against him or changes in employment.

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