A “manipulating” Tayside care worker has been struck off after accepting gifts from a care home resident including sandwich thins, a box of cheese and hundreds of pounds in cash.
Lucy Methven told the resident she needed money to top up her electricity meter and get a haircut as she accepted gifts of £220 over the course of three months.
She was given a £100 cheque by the woman, £20 in cash for electricity, another £20 for food and a taxi fare, £40 on her birthday and £40 for a trip to the salon.
An investigating officer at the Scottish care regulator also found that Methven had accepted gifts comprising two packets of Warburtons sandwich thins, two packets of cheese slices, a packet of toastie bags and a box of cheese.
She failed to declare any of the gifts or money to her employer, contrary to rules forbidding her from accepting gifts and requiring her to report any such offers to her bosses.
Her behaviour occurred between November 2018 and August 2019, with the cash being obtained over the course of a three-month period in that time.
The identity of the care home has been redacted from public documents after an anonymity order was granted.
The Scottish Social Services Council ruled that Methven, of Cupar, had acted with “a lack of integrity” as she should have known not to accept the presents from the woman, anonymised in reports as AA.
In a written decision, the SSSC – based at Dundee’s Compass House – said: “Accepting money and gifts from AA in circumstances where you had told her of personal and money struggles indicates manipulation of AA and your professional position for your own gain.
“Your conduct amounts to financial exploitation…accepting the money and gifts caused actual financial and emotional harm.”
In assessing the sanction to be imposed on the shamed worker, the watchdog noted that her behaviour appeared to have been “planned and deliberate”.
And despite the fact she co-operated with the investigation, regulators said a lack of insight into why her behaviour was deemed inappropriate and a breach of trust put paid to her care career.
They concluded: “Your behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with continuing registration.
“There is little evidence that you acknowledge the basis of your failings, and the pattern of behaviour and lack of insight suggest the behaviour is likely to be repeated.”
Methven has accepted the sanction, which came into effect on Thursday. She no longer works in the care sector, but could not be reached for comment.