A former Doncaster care home manager who faked paperwork to cover up ‘financial irregularities’ in the personal allowances of residents has been struck off.
Former manager at Wyndthorpe Gardens Care Home in Dunsville, Laura Barkworth signed bogus receipts for £80 worth of ‘hairdressing’ and £60 for ‘decor’, a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel heard.
The allegations brought against Barkworth were found to have been proven and the panel this week made the decision to ban her from the profession.
A report into her conduct stated: “She has not expressed any remorse for what happened. Dishonesty of the type found, namely a willingness to falsify documents in order to cover up financial irregularities is difficult to remediate and there is no evidence before the panel to suggest that Miss Barkworth even acknowledges her wrongdoing.”
The panel heard how in order to conceal the falsified documents, Barkworth told a ‘young and inexperienced’ member of staff to cover-up the deficit or risk losing her job in August and September 2014.
According to the member of staff, referred to as Ms 3 in a report into the panel’s findings, Barkworth then suggested that she write a hairdresser’s receipt for £80 to balance the books.
Ms 3 agreed and completed the receipt before she an Barkworth signed it.
Four days later, due to worry regarding the cover-up, the member of staff claimed that she withdrew £80 from her own personal bank account and placed this in the home’s personal allowance tin and voided the false receipt. Around two months later the same member of staff requested funds from a resident’s family and was informed that an amount of £60 had already been provided a few weeks previously.
She says she then informed Barkworth of the shortfall and was once again given the option of covering up the difference or face losing her job.
Barkworth advised her to take the money from the petty cash fund and to write a £60 petty cash voucher for ‘décor’ to cover the money removed.
The petty cash voucher was then signed by Ms 3 and Miss Barkworth.
The deficit came to light when the same member of staff informed her regional manager that there had been financial irregularities at the home and was forced to cover them up.
Barkworth subsequently resigned.
A spokesman for Wyndthorpe Gardens Care Home said: "When the administrator at the home reported financial irregularities to the Regional Manager we instigated an investigation and notified the authorities, which eventually led to the NMC hearing.
"We have provisions in place to ensure that no resident suffered any financial loss.
"As the NMC said, Ms Barkworth’s actions were a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse.
"We consider them also to fall far short of our expectation of a manager entrusted with the care of our residents.
"We have an active whistle blowing policy that encourages residents, their relatives and our staff to notify us of any concerns they may have about any aspect of care or conduct in the workplace and these are always followed up and notified to the authorities as appropriate.
"We are grateful to the employee who raised concerns in this instance."