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Armagh care home worker who dragged elderly amputee patient across floor struck off

Hamilton Court Care Home in Armagh

A former Armagh care home worker, who dragged an elderly amputee patient with dementia across the floor, has been struck off the register.

Aine McCreesh, of Dobbin Hill, who was convicted at Armagh Magistrates’ Court last year of ill-treating or neglecting a mental health patient, was removed from the register following a NI Social Care Council (NISCC) fitness to practice hearing at the end of March.

The 29-year-old failed to attend the hearing having, last November, stated that she would not be engaging in the process.

However, Anthony Gilmore, Solicitor for the NISCC, told the hearing on March 25 that McCreesh was phoned on March 15 and a voicemail was left asking her to return her call to confirm if she would be attending the fitness to practise hearing. There was no response.

McCreesh had been employed at Hamilton Court Care Home for nine years when the incident occurred on July 4, 2022.

Last April, Armagh Magistrates’ Court heard how the victim who had had a leg amputated, regularly shuffled on his bum way around the care home.

However, on July 4, 2022 McCreesh saw him doing so, and said: “To f*** with this, I’m not sitting here watching him all night.”

She grabbed the disabled pensioner under the armpits and dragged him out of the day room.

McCreesh denied any wrongdoing, pleading not guilty before being found guilty at contest on April 4, 2023. She received a three month custodial sentence, suspended for one year.

The conviction was affirmed on appeal on October 11, 2023, however, the suspended sentence was removed and McCreesh was ordered to pay a £250 fine.

The patients care plan indicated that when the service user displayed challenging behaviour but that the appropriate action was “to step away from the [him] and de-escalate the situation”.

Mr Gilmore submitted that McCreesh’s conviction called into question her ability to work in social care services and to remain on the register without restriction, or to be registered at all.

He said that McCreesh “made a number of bad decisions” whilst on shift on July 4, 2022.

He submitted that McCreesh’s actions constituted “an abuse of her position of trust, and showed a complete lack of respect for the service user”.

He said that in light of McCreesh’s lack of engagement and her failure to attend the hearing, “she has not taken the opportunity to give any explanation for her actions”.

He said that there was nothing to persuade the Committee that her behaviour would not be repeated in the future.

Mr Gilmore said that it was possible for a conviction of ill-treatment to be remediated, however, “there was no evidence from McCreesh that she had remediated her behaviour”.

He said that there was no evidence of any “regret or remorse”, nor was there information to suggest she would act differently in the future.

In the circumstances, Mr Gilmore submitted that there remained a future risk of harm to service users if McCreesh was allowed to practise without restriction.

Mr Gilmore submitted that McCreesh demonstrated “no insight into the matter and that, although she co-operated with the police investigation, she made no admissions and pleaded not guilty at court”, adding, the public interest and confidence in the social care profession “would be undermined if a finding of current impairment was not made in these particular circumstances”.

He said that the nature of McCreesh’s ill treatment of the service user “goes against the core functions of social care”, further noting that “she did not express any remorse for her behaviour, and appeared to take the view that she had not done anything wrong”.

The Committee considered a Removal Order to be a suitable, appropriate and proportionate sanction,
which has been imposed on the Registrant’s registration with immediate effect.

McCreesh has 28 days to appeal the decision.

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