Borders care assistant struck off for shouting and swearing at home’s elderly residents

Lennel House in Coldstream.
Lennel House in Coldstream.

A Borders care worker has been struck off the Scottish Social Service Council’s register for shouting abuse at elderly nursing home residents and colleagues.

A fitness-to-practice panel has upheld various allegations against Richard Usher, of Kelso, of causing alarm and distress to three residents while working as a care assistant at Lennel House in Coldstream.

It also found claims that Usher had attempted to intimidate one of the four witnesses giving evidence against him to be proven.

Among the allegations against Usher was that held a soiled nappy pad two inches away from a resident’s face and told her: “For goodness sake, stay syill. It’s not me who’s pooed myself, it’s you, and we are trying to clean you.”

Usher was also found to have restrained another of the Berwickshire home’s 38 residents by the wrists and threatened to withhold food and drink as a punishment.

Usher did not attend the four-day panel hearing in Dundee, but he did deny all the allegations against him in a written statement, posing as a whistleblower and that the claims against him were intended to undermine his complaints about other staff at the St Philip’s Care-run home.

That defence was rejected by the panel, however.

A spokesperson said: “The panel was satisfied that there was little or no truth in your submissions and that these matters were, in any event, unlikely to have given rise to any of these witnesses fabricating allegations against you.

“The panel was satisfied that you had not, at any time, formally complained to your employer about the working practices of your colleagues and that you had not made any report to your employer of abusive behaviour by either of them towards service users.

“The panel also considered that your written submissions were extremely defensive and aggressive in both their tone and their content. They did not ring true.”

A letter has now been sent to Usher telling him: “You shouted and swore at, and were aggressive towards, vulnerable service users. There is evidence that this caused them fear and alarm.

“It was wholly unacceptable for you to have exposed these service users to risk of harm or to actual harm.

“Your misconduct is very serious. It falls far below the standard reasonably expected.

“The panel is of the view that further action is necessary to guard against the risk that you will repeat your misconduct.”

Usher has been removed from the council’s register.