A social worker who used her position to get service users to use a domiciliary care provider she had a financial interest in is to be struck off.
The decision follows a conduct hearing where the HCPC panel found that the social worker concealed her position as the registered manager of the KCL Care from Nottingham City Council while temporarily employed by the authority as a community care officer during 2013.
The panel also found that she led four service users and their families to believe that KCL, which the hearing heard was owned by her husband or partner, was the only care provider they could choose despite the council having a list of approved providers.
As a result three service users used direct payments to pay for KCL’s services and a spot contract was created to pay the company to provide domiciliary care to the fourth person.
While the service users and families said they were happy with the services they got from KCL they told the hearing that they had not been informed that alternative providers were available for them to use.
One service user said he told the registrant that he felt KCL’s £14 per hour fee was “steep” and that he wanted to use CareWatch, a provider he had used for about 10 years. He told the hearing that if he had been given a choice he would have gone with a less expensive provider than KCL.
The service users and their family members said they were unaware that the registrant also worked for KCL.
The panel also found that the social worker misled the Care Quality Commission by telling them that her position at Nottingham Council would end earlier than it would when she applied to become KCL’s registered manager.
The HCPC panel concluded that the registrant’s conduct was dishonest. “She abused her position of trust to exploit vulnerable service users and undermine their autonomy for her own financial gain,” it concluded before ruling that she be struck from the social work register.
The social worker is due to be removed from the register on 15 March when the period in which she can appeal against the decision ends. In the meantime an interim suspension order is in place.