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Carer choked resident by forcing medication into mouth

Cherylleigh Niven, 33, was charged and struck off over the culpable and reckless conduct.

Fife: The incident happened at Craighead Nursing Home.
Fife: The incident happened at Craighead Nursing Home. Google 2019

A Fife care home worker who choked a resident by pinning his head back and pouring medication into his mouth has been struck off the register.

Cherylleigh Niven, 33, was charged over the culpable and reckless conduct and was sentenced to a Community Payback Order with 100 hours of unpaid work.

The incident occurred at Craighead Nursing Home in Newport-on-Tay in June 2017.

Following her sentencing at Dundee Sheriff Court in the autumn of 2018, Niven failed to notify the care regulating body of her conviction, as well as her suspension and later dismissal from her job.

At a Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) fitness to practise hearing last month, the panel removed Niven from the register for her misconduct.

The panel stated it was the "most appropriate sanction" after Niven exposed a vulnerable adult to risk of injury to his health.

'That conduct amounted to a significant breach of trust in failing to support and care for a vulnerable adult. Your behaviour resulted in distress being caused to a service user'
Scottish Social Services Council panel

They added: "Your behaviour demonstrated a serious departure from the codes.

"Whilst your behaviour was an isolated incident, you have significant experience which should have informed you that what you did was not appropriate.

"That conduct amounted to a significant breach of trust in failing to support and care for a vulnerable adult.

"Your behaviour resulted in distress being caused to a service user. Your conduct was serious and fundamentally incompatible with the values of the profession.

"The panel took the view that removal was the only appropriate sanction as your behaviour fell far below the standards expected of a social service worker."

The panel recognised Niven's "significant service" to the care sector over a period of 15 years, but highlighted that she chose not to participate in the hearing so were unable to establish whether she had shown insight into her failures or taken remedial steps to address matters.

From recorded interviews with her employer at the time, Niven accepted that she should have acted differently.

However, within written comments she attempted to minimise the incident, criticised work colleagues and did not engage with the investigation.

A presenter told the panel that he could not be assured her behaviour would not be repeated.

Following the removal of Niven from the register, the panel noted that she will be able to reapply in three years.

They added: "It may be that you will consider doing that alongside taking any steps you feel appropriate to address any issues which led to your behaviour."

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