Care home boss suspended after naming whistleblower

A care home boss who revealed the identity of a whistleblower has been banned from nursing for six months.

Jennifer Kirk was not present at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) conduct and competence committee hearing but had admitted multiple charges of misconduct.

Mrs Kirk, who was employed as manager at Ashlea care home in Callander, failed to investigate properly an allegation that the deputy manager had been accessing pornographic websites at work.

Concerns had been raised by another employee, named only as Miss 1, on February 1 2013 and Mrs Kirk later told the subject of the complaint who had made it.

In addition, she did not notify the appropriate protection agencies of the incident, and she did not suspend the deputy manager until April 6 last year.

In a written submission to the NMC, Miss 1 stated that she used the home’s computer on January 31 last year and noticed that the internet history showed various pornographic websites had been accessed on January 16.

She took a photograph of the computer screen with her mobile telephone and reviewed the nursing rota, which indicated that the home’s deputy manager was the nurse on duty at the time.

She said she told Mrs Kirk the following day but the manager did not take the complaint seriously.

The deputy manager then made it clear to Miss 1 that he knew she had found the information on the computer and had told Mrs Kirk.

The matter was later reported to the Care Inspectorate in Scotland and Stirling Adult Support and Protection by another member of staff.

The Care Inspectorate ruled that Mrs Kirk should have investigated the concerns properly and protected the identity of the member of staff who raised the complaint.

An internal investigation by the company which runs Ashlea, Mauricare Dumpark Limited, found that Mrs Kirk had breached its whistleblowing policy.

She also admitted making more than a dozen medication blunders in April and May 2013.

She failed to ensure that medication — including anti-psychotic, osteoporosis, painkilling and antibiotic drugs — was administered as prescribed, or recorded as administered, to 10 residents at the home.

Additionally, between April and May 2013 she failed to ensure that there was an effective audit trail of medication received and administered to residents in the home.

Imposing a six-month suspension order, the NMS said: “Given the seriousness of the facts admitted and found proved, the panel considers that Mrs Kirk’s conduct is a serious departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse and, as such, did not uphold the reputation of the profession at the relevant time.

“The panel considered that a period of suspension would be sufficient to protect patients and the public interest.

“The panel noted that Mrs Kirk has had an otherwise unblemished history as a nurse.

“However, the panel has not seen any evidence of remediation and, as such, concluded that Mrs Kirk still represents a risk to patients.”




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