An experienced social worker facing allegations of poor practice asked the HCPC to remove him from the register because he was burnt out and “no longer capable” of doing the job.
The social work regulator investigated claims that the practitioner, who had been in practice for 33 years, had “persistently failed to perform his duties or recorded inaccurate or false information in respect of 21 families”.
He also filled out his timesheets to claim time off in lieu he wasn’t entitled to, and left the majority of his work with families to support workers, the HCPC was told.
‘No longer capable’
However, before a fitness-to-practise hearing took place, the social worker sent a letter to the HCPC requesting to be removed from the register.
He said: “I acknowledge that I am no longer capable of practising as a social worker. The accumulated stress and strains of a career in social care/social work lasting for more than 30 years have taken their toll on me.
“This, combined with the gradual age-related decline in my cognitive abilities, have left me as an example of social work ‘burn out’. I have no intention of ever returning to social work. I am now happily and successfully employed in a field that has no relation so social care/social work.”
The letter was sent in 2014, more than a year after the failings in the social worker’s practice were identified. Despite this, the HCPC said it was “overwhelmingly in the public interest for the case to proceed” and a hearing was held earlier this month.
Abuse of trust
The panel found the social worker made false entries of visits that he had not carried out, and a support worker told the panel he “spoke as though he had conducted visits that had actually been undertaken by her”.
The social worker’s manager felt it was impossible to say whether the practitioner’s actions had caused specific harm to families. But he said foster placements the social worker looked after would have been more effective, and stresses avoided, if duties had been carried out properly.
The panel decided to remove the social worker from the register because he had “shown a willingness to place vulnerable service users at risk and to abuse the trust of his colleagues, sometimes simply for personal benefit or convenience”.