An NHS social worker who sent inappropriate messages to the wife of a man he was supposed to be caring for has been struck off.
A panel ruled Desmond Michael Ward, believed to now be in his early 60s, also took alcohol to the couple’s home in Blackpool outside of working hours, abusing his position.
The Trust takes the conduct of its employees extremely seriously
In a statement, The Health and Care Professions Council said Mr Ward had breached “professional boundaries” while employed within the Complex Care and Treatment Team (CCTT).
Part of Mr Ward’s role was to act as Care Coordinator for the man, who lived with his wife.
The man had been transferred to the CCTT following his discharge from a mental health hospital ward with CCTT’s role to monitor and provide him with support in the community.
On June 29 2013, the man made a complaint to the Crisis Home Treatment team following a visit by Mr Ward the previous day.
This visit had taken place outside of working hours and Mr Ward had brought alcohol to the man’s home, the hearing was told.
Mr Ward was arrested and interviewed under caution.
His mobile phone was examined alongside conversations he’d had with the man’s wife via Facebook.
Mr Ward was bailed from the police station under a condition that he did not return to work with the CCTT.
He was charged with sexual assault in February 2014 but was later found not guilty in court and discharged.
Philip Geering, panel chairman, said: “The Panel concluded it could not with confidence say that Mr Ward was able to resolve or remedy the matters that had led to his misconduct.
“There was a complete lack of information as to what Mr Ward had been doing since June 2013 to address his failings. His misconduct had been deliberate and had caused actual harm.
“The very serious nature of the misconduct involved abuse of his position as a professional social worker, and sexually motivated misconduct towards two vulnerable adults to whom he provided alcohol which was completely inappropriate.”
Mr Ward was struck off from the HCPC Register.
A spokesman for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust takes the conduct of its employees extremely seriously.
“The member of staff worked for the Trust for a three month period on a temporary basis and as soon as concerns were raised by the service user, the police were contacted and commenced their enquiries.
“This is an isolated and regrettable case in a Trust that sets very high standards for its staff in line with professional codes of conduct.”