Care worker found guilty of assault on 80-year-old patient at Uplands Independent Hospital in Fareham

Bernie Goffin

Bernie Goffin

‘I just remember a white cloud and a huge, horrific noise’

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support worker Bernie Goffin has been found guilty of assaulting an 80-year-old patient.

The 67-year-old was working at Uplands Independent Hospital in Fareham, a mental health hospital, when the incident happened in May.

Shocked co-workers reported the assault to management, who referred the matter to police.

Goffin, of Chantrell Walk, Fareham, denied throwing an unused incontinence pad at the woman and said she had placed it at the end of the bed.

Fareham magistrates heard Goffin and another worker were taking the patient to her room to change her when Goffin started to bicker with her.

Two workers, who were in the room at the time, said Goffin, who had worked at the hospital for 14 years, became agitated and threw the pad, which hit the patient in the face.

Then she forcefully pulled a towel from underneath the patient causing her to become unsteady on her feet.

Prosecuting Yasmin Hall said the patient, 80, was very thin and frail, was 4ft 10in, and had suffered from severe mental health illnesses all her life.

Part of her condition meant she was often verbally and physically aggressive, giving out what Ms Hall described as ‘empty threats’.

Due to her vulnerability and the setting, although no injuries were caused, it was deemed to be assault.

Goffin said she had been a health support worker for more than 30 years and that she had since resigned.

She said she did not intend to return to work as the incident had had an ‘indescribable’ effect on her life.

Chairman of the magistrates Malcolm Brown sentenced her to a one-year conditional discharge and told her to pay £300 costs and a victim surcharge of £15.

He said he did not think the case should have reached a court room.

But he said: ‘You recklessly tossed the pad and therefore you are guilty of assault.’

Watchdog highlights failings

GOVERNMENT health watchdog the Care Quality Commission failed Uplands Independent Hospital in four of five main areas of its latest report.

The hospital, in Park Lane, Fareham, was inspected by the independent regulator of health and social care services in August.

The report found patients were not getting the care they required and said care plans and risk assessments had not been updated.

It raised concerns about training and staff supervision. The company that runs the hospital, CareTech, said it had worked to address the issues.

The CQC will now carry out a further unannounced inspection.

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