Vice-chair resigns at Wellhouse after being struck off by SSSC for assault
A care worker has resigned from her position as vice-chair at Wellhouse Housing Association after being struck off by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) for assaulting an elderly resident at a care home.
Wilma Strang, who served on the Association’s management committee since April 2006, was a supervisor at a Craigend Gardens Care Home in Glasgow where the incident took place and where she was also alleged to have committed other acts of cruelty towards three other residents.
In January 2018 Ms Strang was convicted of assault at Glasgow Sheriff Court for repeatedly holding an 81-year-old resident, known only as ‘B’, on the body thus preventing him from leaving a chair at the care home in February 2016.
The SSSC also decided there was evidence that during the same month at the care home Ms Strang placed a sheet over the head of another resident, known as ‘C’, and pushed their head down into a mattress.
Ms Strang was also found to have been verbally abusive towards C causing them to become distressed.
During the same month, Ms Strang placed her thumb and forefinger at each side of a resident D’s mouth to push their mouth open causing injury.
The behaviour continued as she verbally abused another resident, known as ‘A’, locked herself in a room with the man causing him to become distressed before running towards him as if she was going to chase him along the corridor.
She also told her colleagues she felt like causing physical harm to the resident.
A fourth resident, identified as B, was also subjected to abuse.
The SSSC sanctioned the removal of Ms Strang from its register on August 18.
Maureen Morris, chair at Wellhouse Housing Association, confirmed the acceptance of Ms Strang’s resignation as the Association’s vice-chair as of August 23.
In a statement to Scottish Housing News Mrs Morris stated that Ms Strang’s resignation cited personal reasons and has been accepted by the governing body and that the circumstances have been reported to the Scottish Housing Regulator.
“As a governing body and as an RSL we attach the greatest importance in our high standards of governance, our code of conduct and that it is demonstrated by all our people and in all of our activities,” Mrs Morris added.
Wellhouse Housing Association was the subject of statutory intervention by the Scottish Housing Regulator beginning in December 2014.
A statutory manager was appointed to the Association to address “serious weaknesses” in its governance and financial management and to protect the interests of tenants. These weaknesses included breaches of financial covenants, potential tax liabilities, inappropriate receipt of payments and benefits, poor handling of conflicts of interest and potential breaches of charity law.
The appointment of a statutory manager concluded almost two years later when the Regulator deemed Wellhouse to have made good progress in dealing with the issues that led to the intervention.
In the intervening period the Association appointed Martin Wilkie-McFarlane as new chief officer and made three new appointments to its management team.
Four new members joined its governing body in May 2017 and in March this year the Regulator reduced its engagement level at Wellhouse from high to medium.
In its most recent regulation plan for Wellhouse the Regulator said the governing body “has worked openly and constructively to implement the necessary improvements to ensure that Wellhouse meets the regulatory standards of governance and financial management”.
When asked whether the Scottish Housing Regulator was made aware of Ms Strang’s conviction, a spokesperson for the Regulator told Scottish Housing News that Wellhouse reported the matter as a notifiable event in August.
As Ms Strang is no longer a member of the governing body, the Regulator will take no further action on this matter, the spokesperson added.
A colleague of Ms Strang, Mary Nicholson was stripped of her registration by the SSSC in June after being found guilty of assaulting an 81-year-old man at the same care home in February 2016.
A Care Inspectorate spokesman said: “These were shocking and distressing cases. We are satisfied that in both cases the care provider took the appropriate action by immediately suspending the staff and making referrals to relevant agencies.
“We have followed up on these matters, which took place in 2016, in subsequent inspections of this care home and have reported on our findings. We continue to inspect the home regularly.”