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2 very different versions of same incident & I can't work there any more

(7 Posts)
cheapskatemum Thu 11-Feb-16 23:19:53

I'm an agency care worker and sometimes work with clients who exhibit behaviour that challenges. Two weeks ago I was working with one such teenager, who is non verbal. While I was making his snack, he threw a kettle which had some hot water in it onto the floor. I got him to sit back down and reinstated the kettle. Meanwhile a permanent member of staff came in. My client came forward again and the ball of his foot went in the water. At this point I said that I'd never worked with this client before and the permanent staff member asked me to mop up the water with tea towels, which I did. She then swapped me with the other agency worker there that night, who had worked with him before. I worked with the client he'd been assigned, whom I'd also worked with before.

A few days later, I was summoned to the Agency's Head Office (a 50 mile round trip). I was read the work place's version of events: after throwing the kettle, the client had sat in a pool of scalding water and I'd made no attempt to get him up. Not surprisingly, they didn't want me back there.

I was gutted as, apart from that evening, I'd really enjoyed working there. Previously I'd got on well with all the staff and other clients. My work had often been praised. I'd never worked with the permanent staff member on duty that night.

The agency explained the difference in accounts by saying that they hear it 3rd hand and that things get exaggerated like Chinese whispers. After I'd thought about it a few days I phoned the agency to ask if the workplace would get to hear my version of events. They said they wouldn't normally, but if I specifically wanted, they would forward it to them. The agency's point of view was that sometimes the agency care worker just has to suck it up - become the fall guy. I think this is so unfair. My confidence has taken a huge knock. If such a serious incident had happened, both I and the permanent staff worker should have written an incident report at the time. The other agency care worker (same agency) only had to change the client's sock when he took over, not his trousers and boxers. If they asked him about that, it would prove that the other account is exaggerated.

I was wondering if I could write a formal letter of complaint to the work place about what's happened, since they didn't follow their best practice procedure after the incident. What does anyone think?

bb888 Thu 11-Feb-16 23:22:57

I think thats worth doing. Otherwise its an allegation that you don't want following you around, so it would be good to pursue the facts now while people still remember them clearly.

cheapskatemum Fri 12-Feb-16 21:16:44

Thanks for replying, bb888. Plus I'm, rather belatedly, joining a union, just in case anything remotely similar happens again!

228agreenend Fri 12-Feb-16 21:21:59

I'm shocked they haven't asked for your version of events, that sounds unprofessional,to me. Definitely contact them.

cheapskatemum Fri 12-Feb-16 22:26:50

Thanks, 228agreenend, I think so too. I suppose doing so would mean admitting that procedures weren't followed or that their employee is a liar My agency said they wouldn't ordinarily send the work place my version of events, but since I specifically requested it, they would. They could say they have and then not do it though, I'm afraid I've lost faith in them. I'll write the letter and send it, I've got nothing to lose.

Alanna1 Sat 13-Feb-16 07:09:30

I think you should because you don't want this on your record. Could you get a friend in RL to help you write it? Also I would be careful of accusing the permanent staff member. Instead could they just have come to the scene late and may have just drawn the wrong readings from it? Also the water on the floor from the kettle would presumbably have cooled down quickly on the floor (so the client won't have an injury from being "scalded")? And lastly you might want to explain about leaving the client and why that happened?

cheapskatemum Mon 15-Feb-16 00:31:34

Thanks Alanna1. You are right, I don't want it on my record, although at least the agency, who would be holding the record, have my version as well as the work place's. Several RL friends have given me excellent advice regarding the content of my letter, including some of the points you mention, such as not accusing anyone of anything, just sticking to the facts and in particular the fact that their protocol hadn't been followed.

It's quite difficult to explain why the client was "left". We were all still in the room: me, the client and the permanent staff member. I think I was aware that the water should be mopped up (and, yes, it had cooled sufficiently that it couldn't scald) but that agency workers aren't given keys to the Kosh cupboard, so I couldn't access a mop! As I was processing this, she told me to use the tea towels. I "left" the client sitting on the floor - but not in the pool of water - because, as far as I'm aware, he has no mobility issues and is perfectly capable of standing up by himself. He certainly didn't have an injury from being scalded, if he did an accident form should also have been filled out! Thanks again for taking the trouble to reply, I shall take on board your suggestions when I write my letter.

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