Social worker suspended for saying vulnerable woman should be ‘hit with sledgehammer’

A social worker has been suspended for telling colleagues the best way to manage a woman with learning difficulties was to “hit her with a sledgehammer”.

Gawain Minney was banned from his profession after making the “cruel and discriminatory” jibe during a meeting with the woman’s carer.

A disciplinary panel heard he also suggested one way to manage the vulnerable woman, who is in her early 20s, was to “chuck her in a padded room.”

A Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service hearing was told he made the comments during a multi-agency meeting discussing the management of the person.

The carer was left “shocked” and “speechless” after the comments were made and told the panel they were “not said in a jokey way”.

On another occasion Minney jabbed his elbow toward a colleague’s face in an aggressive manner at a coffee shop in August 2016.

Minney, who had been working as an agency worker for Staffordshire County Council, was suspended for 12 months on January 3.

Panel chairman John Walsh said: “Although the panel recognised that the two incidents are isolated events, it concluded that the public confidence would be significantly undermined if a finding of fitness to practice impairment was not made, given the nature and seriousness of Mr Minney’s conduct and behaviour.”

Giving evidence, a council worker said Minney’s comments at the meeting came as they discussed what could be done if the woman’s behaviour became dangerous.

In conclusion, the panel found Minney did not treat the service user as an individual, respecting her dignity.

Minney appeared before the panel and invited it to impose a suspension, describing the process as “helpful”.

The social worker claimed he had suffered from a lack of social network and support as an agency worker, and was looking to live closer to his family.

He also said he would take a psychological course, adding he “should not go near social work until [he] has sorted himself out”.

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