A former care worker from Fife has been struck off after she verbally abused several residents at a home in Dunfermline.
A hearing by the Scottish Social Services Council found Fernan Murdoch had been “emotionally abusive” to several residents during 2018 and 2019.
A total of seven incidents were considered from Murdoch’s time working as a care assistant at Henderson House in Dunfermline.
In one incident, Murdoch was said to have verbally abused a resident, identified as AA, when providing personal care, calling her a “smelly b****”.
The panel said it took into account evidence that Murdoch and a colleague were “providing personal care to AA and that when you had pulled AA’s
trousers down, AA farted in your face”.
The report added: “In response to that, you then called AA a “smelly b****” and “f*****g b****” or words to that effect.
It was said Murdoch had retaliated in July 2019 after the same resident told the care assistant she needed to brush her teeth.
A colleague, identified as “WW” told the hearing that Murdoch had responded, saying: “keep your hands away from your f***y, that’s why your fingernails are dirty all the time”.
Fernan Murdoch denied the allegations in an interview with her then employer, but the tribunal said it favoured the evidence of her colleague.
In a separate incident with the same resident, who had dementia, the panel said it found proven an allegation that Murdoch had pulled the resident’s hand as she used a stand aid.
However, the panel said it had not found it proven that this had caused the resident, AA, harm.
The report said a colleague had told the hearing that after Murdoch pulled the resident’s arm a bruise had shown up days later, but the panel could not definitely show this was related.
‘Stop being lazy’
In a further incident that involved AA, the panel agreed Murdoch had grabbed the resident’s feet to “fling them on the stand aid”, telling her to “stop being lazy”.
Another proved allegation included an incident in August 2019 that Murdoch had told a colleague to punch a resident who had refused to sit down.
“[Resident] BB stood up from the table, as was his usual practice when needing to go to the toilet,” the report said.
“Instead of attending to his needs, you advised a colleague to just punch him.”
The panel noted that when she explained the matter to her employer, Murdoch had said it had been “banter”.
A third resident, CC, was said to have been given the nickname “Shrek” and “smelly fat b***h” by Murdoch, which the panel said Murdoch had “found funny”.
Several other allegations in December 2019 were also found proven, including that Murdoch had shaken a resident’s chair.
Finding that Murdoch had engaged in name calling, swearing and offensive comments which were all “emotionally abusive towards the residents in question and could have caused emotional harm to the other residents who were present”.
The panel had no difficulty in concluding that your actions fall far short of what is
“The panel had no difficulty in concluding that your actions fall far short of what is
expected of a social services worker,” the report said.
Finding that more serious action was needed to “protect the public and the public interest”, the panel decided to remove Murdoch from the register of social care workers.
“The panel considered that the behaviours you engaged in were not isolated incidents and represent a pattern of emotionally abusive behaviour towards residents and an abuse of trust,” they said to Murdoch.
Murdoch said she did not wish to comment on the allegations after she was contacted on Friday.
A spokesperson for Four Seasons Total Healthcare, then operators of the home, said: “We are aware of the proceedings involving a former employee of Henderson House, which is no longer operated by Four Seasons Health Care Group.
The care and wellbeing of our residents remains our first priority
“At the time of the allegations, we suspended the employee while an investigation was carried out, after which her employment ended.
“The matter was reported to the Scottish Social Services Council, which we have provided with our full support throughout this process.
“The care and wellbeing of our residents remains our first priority and we will always act to uphold our high standards of care.”
An image used on an earlier version of this article wrongly identified a private residential development as the Henderson House Care Home. This image has been removed from the article. We apologise for the error.