A care home worker who repeatedly unplugged a resident’s buzzer, preventing them from being able to call for help, has been struck off.
Gillian McKenzie was working at the Balhousie Group facility in Coupar Angus when she turned off the woman’s alert system several times, placing her at risk of harm.
She was sacked by operators Balhousie Care Group after the issue came to light in 2017.
Now she has been removed from the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) register after a fitness to practice hearing ruled her actions amounted to “deliberate neglect”.
The misconduct panel said that Ms McKenzie had “show a lack of insight” into her behaviour and would have been “aware that the buzzer system was the resident’s only means of communication”.
The watchdog’s report states: “Your actions amounted to an abuse of trust placed in you as a social services worker.”
It is understood Ms McKenzie has not worked in social services since she lost her job with Balhousie.
The SSSC told Ms McKenzie: “Social services workers are expected to treat people who use services with dignity and respect, promote their views and ensure they receive the care they need. Your actions failed to meet these standards.
“The resident’s (named only as AA) buzzer was her only means of communicating that she needs help. By unplugging it, you ensured that she could not do this. This placed AA at significant risk of emotional and physical harm.”
The spokeswoman added: “Your behaviour was premeditated and amounted to an abuse of the trust placed in you.
“Ensuring a resident is unable to call for help is deliberate neglect, and suggests an attitudinal issue. This is very serious behaviour.”
The panel ruled that comments made by Ms McKenzie to Balhousie bosses “suggest a lack of understanding of the seriousness of your actions”.
The spokeswoman added: “It therefore appears that the risk of you repeating this behaviour is high. This suggests that your continued registration would pose a risk to public protection and the wider public interest.”
The SSSC said a removal order was the most appropriate action “to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession”.
A spokeswoman for the Perth-based Balhouse Care Group added: “Gillian McKenzie’s was dismissed from Balhousie Care Group on June 20, 2017.
“Protecting patients and ensuring they are treated with care, respect and dignity is our number one priority.”