Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.



Driven to Drink

June 21, 2011 permalink

The stress of snatching children every day can drive a woman to drink. That was the experience of British social worker Deborah Stirling who was fired for drinking on the job and while driving.



Social worker struck off for drinking at work

A SOCIAL worker has been found guilty of misconduct and struck off after turning up for work drunk.

Deborah Stirling worked as a social worker for Staffordshire County Council from September 2003 until she was sacked in November 2009.

In August 2009, she turned up for her job apparently under the influence of alcohol. She was also accused of drinking from a bottle of booze in her car while parked at work and on duty.

And on the same date Stirling was accused of trying to drive her car while under the influence.

The General Social Care Council (GSCC), which regulates social workers, found the accusations made against Stirling were proven.

And the council's conduct committee, sitting at The Moat House Hotel in Festival Park, Etruria, found she was guilty of misconduct and removed her from the social care register.

The council also heard that in August 2008 Stirling presented a case at a resource allocation panel meeting while she appeared to be drunk.

On two occasions in July and August 2008 she had to be taken home from work because colleagues believed she had been drinking. And on other occasions she came into work smelling of alcohol.

Stirling did not attend the hearing into her conduct, which took place last week, but told the GSCC she was happy for it to go ahead in her absence.

Tracey Clemson-Casey told the hearing Stirling had been involved in a near miss in the office car park on August 21, 2009 and she had to persuade her to leave her car. A report from the council said Stirling claimed she had signed out of the office feeling unwell and had not put service users' lives at risk.

Two witnesses claimed Stirling had been drinking when she delivered a presentation for funding in 2008.

The report said: "The registrant (Stirling) had glazed eyes and was inappropriately jovial considering the subject matter of her presentation."

A colleague said "she smelt like a brewery and was rambling."

Kath Barber, case manager at the county council, told the committee she had driven Stirling home from work three times as she believed she had been drinking.

The committee said Stirling was regarded as a first-class social worker when not under the influence of alcohol.

But it said: "The registrant's behaviour put her and service users at risk, especially when it involved her driving."

Eric Robinson, director for people at Staffordshire County Council said: "The county council offered support once it became apparent she was experiencing difficulties. However, while we do everything we can to protect the welfare of our staff, we have a wider duty of care to their colleagues, service users and the general public."

Source: Staffordshire Sentinel