Scots carer stays on register despite degrading images of service user

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A SCOTS carer has been allowed to stay on the register despite taking degrading photographs of a service user with dementia sitting on the toilet before adding a long hair and hat filter.

Anne Drummond was issued with a warning by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) yesterday following the disrespectful incident in November 2019.

The community support worker for ACS Care at Home in Lochgelly, Fife, took photos of the male service user who lived with dementia while he sat on a commode. 

Offices of ASC Care at Home where the carer worked
The carer worked for ASC Care at Home at the time.

She applied a filter to the images which distorted the service user’s facial expression and made him look like he had long hair and was wearing a hat.
 
Drummond then sent the images of the man, who was in a state of undress, to a colleague.

The SSSC yesterday decided Drummond could remain on the register and issued the support worker with a warning on her registration for two years.
 
In their reasoning for the decision, the SSSC report states: “Taking a photograph of a service user and applying filters distorting his features represents a failure to treat a vulnerable service user with dignity and respect. 
 
“While no harm came to the service user as a result of this behaviour the risk of harm was significant. 
 
“The SSSC was also informed that your actions had caused the family to be upset. 
 
“This behaviour breaches fundamental tenets of the profession. 
 
“If these behaviours were to be repeated, they could cause emotional harm to service users in your care.”
 
The panel decided that the risk of repetition of the incident was low given the length of time that has passed.

They also stated that Drummond showed insight, regret, and apologised for her behaviour.

On making their decision to issue Drummond with a warning, the panel said: “A reasonable member of the public in receipt of all the information would consider the reputation of the profession to be damaged as a result of your behaviour.

The SSSC issued carer Anne Drummond with a warning.
The SSSC gave carer Anne Drummond a warning yesterday.

“…Therefore there is a specific need for the SSSC to take steps to reaffirm the clear standards of care and conduct expected from a registered worker. 
 
“The SSSC therefore considers your fitness to practise to be currently impaired.

“After referring to our Decisions Guidance, we decided the appropriate sanction is to place a warning on your registration for a period of two years.”
 
The report described the incident as “an abuse of a position of trust”.
 
However, the care sector governing body said they had received no previous referrals regarding Drummond’s conduct and described it as “an isolated incident”.