An adult care home manager from Swansea has been removed from the Register of Social Care Workers after a fitness to practise panel found he put individuals in his care in unwarranted risk of harm.
The Social Care Wales hearing was told that Ashley Bowen, who managed the now-closed St James Care Home in Swansea, failed to prevent a member of staff mistreating an individual in his care by tying their chair to a table as a method of restraint and keeping a them awake by banging objects near their head.
During the hearing Mr Bowen was also found to have failed to: protect the privacy and dignity of residents; take care of the health and welfare of residents by allowing the home to fall into a state of disrepair; and ensure that there were enough qualified and competent staff working in the home.
Having heard the evidence, the committee decided that Mr Bowen’s fitness to practise was impaired because of his misconduct. In explaining its decision, the panel said: “Mr Bowen abused the trust of the residents in the home. The residents should have been able to trust in him to protect them and ensure their health and welfare. Mr Bowen was aware of the abuse of an individual and failed to address or report it.
“Mr Bowen put his own interests before the interests of the residents.” Mr Bowen’s conduct resulted in harm to one resident and presented a risk to other residents in the home.
The panel said: “We have found that Mr Bowen’s conduct represents a serious disregard for the Code of Professional Practice for Social Care and resulted in numerous breaches of that Code. An aggravating factor in this case was the extent to which Mr Bowen lost sight over a period of time of his responsibilities towards the residents.
Mr Bowen, who did not attend the hearing in Swansea, sent a written statement to the panel stating: “He accepted some fault in relation incidents.”
The panel said: “He still qualifies the recognition of his own responsibility by reference to the culpability of others. It appears from his email that Mr Bowen wrongly believes that the fact he was not prosecuted absolves him from his responsibility.”
The panel therefore decided to remove Mr Bowen from the Register concluding: “Given the gravity of the Misconduct and the absence of proper and full demonstration of insight we find that only a Removal Order is the sufficient and proportionate sanction in this case which will protect the public and the public interest in maintaining confidence in social care services.”
Following the home's closure, residents were relocated after investigations by the police and Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) found Mr Bowen’s wife, Maria Baltazar, who was a carer at the home, wilfully neglected residents.
Baltazar pleaded guilty at Swansea Crown Court to causing ill-treatment in April 2017 and was jailed for 20 weeks.
Picture (c) Google Maps.