Care home manager alleged to have drunk on duty and exposed himself

Real Life Options Care Home in Livingston
Real Life Options Care Home in Livingston
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A FORMER care home manager faces being struck off over allegations that he exposed himself to a fellow member of staff and was drunk on duty.

Thomas Shields, who ran Real Life Options Care Home for adults with learning disabilities in Pumpherston Road, Livingston, is due to face a series of accusations at a conduct sub-committee hearing of the Scottish Social Services Council tomorrow.

It is alleged Shields, who had ultimate responsibility for the services provided to vulnerable care home residents, consumed alcohol at a caravan park in Berwick-upon-Tweed while accompanying two of the care home’s service users in 
mid-2007.

It is also claimed that he acted negligently by failing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the two people in his care, who were in their 50s, on the trip to the caravan park.

Then, between November 23 and November 24 last year, it is alleged that Shields unbuttoned his shirt and showed his nipple to a colleague.

He is then said to have removed his clothes and exposed himself to the woman, putting her “in a state of fear and alarm”.

On that occasion, he is also accused of having brought alcohol into the care home, consuming alcohol and making inappropriate sexual comments to the member of staff.

Tony Pearson, human resources director of Real Life Options, said that Shields had already been sacked after an internal investigation.

If the panel finds the accusations proven this week, he faces having his registration with the Scottish Social Services Council revoked for three years, with no guarantee that he would get it back after the ban expires.

Mr Pearson said: “When we were made aware of the allegations he was immediately suspended. We conducted a full investigation and he was dismissed on January 13.

“We took action following what happened on November 23 and 24. It was reported pretty much immediately. We took the allegations incredibly seriously. We have robust disciplinary and investigation processes in place and they were followed.”

After the internal investigation, it was Real Life Options, a not-for-profit voluntary company, that informed the Scottish Social Services Council of the accusations, prompting tomorrow’s hearing.

Although Shields worked at the same care home in 2007 during the Berwick caravan park trip, it was not taken over by Real Life Options until September last year.

The sub-committee will 
consist of at least three people who will hear evidence before delivering their findings.

If all of the allegations are proved, Shields would be in breach of ten separate parts of the Scottish Social Services Council code of practice for social service workers.

He will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling if he is found guilty.

Shields, who could not be reached for comment, is under no obligation to attend the hearing, which is due to take place in Dundee.