A cruel Scots carer who stole money from a disabled resident to buy handbags has been struck off.
Nicola Paterson was working as as a support worker by Support for Ordinary Living in Wishaw, Lanarkshire when she nicked the cash last year.
The charity works with people with a variety of different support needs and disabilities to help them live a more free life away from their conditions and live in their own homes.
Paterson used the money of a service user to buy herself the bags over the course of three days in March last year- leaving the wheelchair-bound woman in her care ‘devastated’.
On March 17 she took £14.99 to buy a handbag and then again on March 20 took another £18 for another bag.
The wheelchair user is known simply as AA in a report prepared by watchdogs at the Scottish Social Security Council (SSSC).
The woman, AA, is said to have full capacity and makes her own decisions and that Paterson’s carer role was to support her in making good decisions.
She would be expected to put together an expenses sheet of all she had spent in a week but noticed it had not been signed off.
It emerged bags had been bought in Tesco and Aldi- but it was initially thought AA had been overcharged for carrier bags.
The SSSC report adds: ” On 17 March 2020 there was a receipt from Aldi which included an entry of £14.99 for a bag.
“On 20 March 2020 there was a receipt from Tesco which included the amount of £18 for a bag. She thought that there had perhaps been a mistake and that AA had been overcharged for carrier bags.
“She asked AA, who confirmed that she had taken her own carrier bags to the shop each of those days. She called you and you confirmed that (Paterson) had taken carrier bags for each shop on those days.
CCTV footage was checked at the shops and it was confirmed ‘a dark-haired woman with glasses who had bought a bag’. She was able to obtain photographs of the type of bag purchased in each store.
The report adds: “AA was not immediately informed of the investigation into the receipts until it was confirmed that there appeared to be a discrepancy.
“She denied having purchased the bags or having given you any authority to purchase the bags on her behalf.
“When AA was made aware of the situation, she was shown the photos of the type of bags bought, and she had no knowledge of them and said she had never seen them.
“She was very distressed. She was devastated that this had been done to her. She contacted the police. She brought it up regularly with carers and cried for months over what happened.”
The (SSSC) have now reviewed her case and decided to remove her from the register.
The report adds: “The Panel took into consideration that the failure demonstrated by you was serious.
“The impact on the service user was significant in both financial and emotional terms. There was a clear breach of a service user’s trust and a high degree of dishonesty.
“There was no information from you which could assure the Panel that there was no risk of repetition of your behaviour. Although the dishonesty only took place on two occasions, over a short period of time, the Panel agreed with the Presenter’s suggestion that this could have been the start of a pattern of behaviour.
“However, you had taken no steps to engage with the SSSC process. You did not engage with your employer.
“You resigned at the point when this matter was referred to the SSSC. You have proffered no substantive explanation for the behaviour.
“The Panel had no information which would allow a view to be taken on whether you had shown any insight into the effect that your actions had on the service user.”