Support worker failed to adequately care for vulnerable service user

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) found Ryan Fullerton's fitness to practise impaired.

Support worker failed to adequately care for vulnerable service user iStock
Support worker: Ryan Fullerton has been struck off.

A Glasgow support worker has been struck off for failing to provide adequate care to a service user at “significant” risk of self-harm and suicide.

Ryan Fullerton was found on more than one occasion to have fallen asleep on shift while working for The Richmond Fellowship Scotland. He also engaged in personal phone calls when he was supposed to be working.

The incidents were said to have taken place between May 8 and July 8, 2020.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) found his fitness to practise impaired. A removal order was issued last month and came into effect on Wednesday.

In a written ruling, the SSSC said: “You failed to provide support by falling asleep on shift and by taking personal calls, which exposed service user AA to an increased risk of harm.

“You failed to provide AA with an acceptable level of care.

“It was clearly documented in AA’s care plan that ignoring him or not providing him with support were triggers for his self-harming behaviour.

“Your conduct exposed AA to an unnecessary and significant risk of harm, given that you were responsible for providing one-to-one support to AA.”

The SSSC said the consequences of the lack of supervision could have been “significant”, fortunately serious harm was “not caused”.

However, the watchdog added: “That is not to say however that there was not some emotional harm caused to AA as the service user was able to articulate his own feelings and report what happened.”

Fullerton had no previous history of such behaviour or disciplinary action, but he failed to demonstrate insight, regret or apology for his misconduct.

The SSSC noted: “It is a concern that you do not appear to recognise how your behaviour could have impacted upon the service user.

“This gives rise to public protection risks, as it suggests similar behaviour could be repeated by you in the future.

“The behaviour calls into question whether you have the appropriate values to work in the social services sector supporting vulnerable people.”

In conclusion, the watchdog said a removal order was the “most appropriate sanction” to maintain the “continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession”.