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Drunk social worker offered detox patient a double whisky

A social worker who offered to buy a double whisky in a pub for a client he had helped through detox was struck off today.

Craig McLoughlin, who was drunk at the time, told the client, known only as Mr A, not to worry about his dead father, adding "I'll be your dad", and he informed other people in the pub that he was his social worker.

The committee of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) in London ruled today that the 54-year-old's actions amounted to misconduct and ordered that he be removed from the professional register.

It heard yesterday that Mr A had issues with psychosis linked to substance and alcohol misuse and McLoughlin, from Sheffield, helped arrange his attendance at a detox programme.

McLoughlin was on a day off in May 2005 and was intoxicated "to the level of being drunk" in a city centre pub when Mr A and his girlfriend bumped into him, the hearing was told.

Mr Swan said: "Mr A and his girlfriend. Miss C. went into the pub for a meal and the registrant invited them to join him at a table where he was sitting by himself, and they did.

"The registrant then offered to buy an alcoholic drink for Mr A, namely whisky, and produced a quantity of money from his pocket.

"He went on to express his view to Mr A that nobody could be without alcohol and that was despite the fact that Mr A had recently undergone detox. Mr A refused the offer of a drink."

Mr Swan said Mr A's father had died when he was only 13, which he and McLoughlin had discussed.

"The registrant said to Mr A in a raised voice, 'Don't worry about your dad, I'll be your dad.'

"The registrant went on to shout to other customers, 'I'm his social worker, this is our social work session'."

Mr A telephoned his grandmother to tell her what was going on and she reported it to his bosses.

But the committee did not find proved allegations that McLoughlin offered Mr A some magic mushrooms, or asked Mr A to provide him with cannabis or sleeping tablets

McLoughlin was employed by the city council to work for the Sheffield Care Trust in mental health services from September 13 2004 and he worked in the north sector community health team.

He was involved in the case of Mr A from October 2004, said Andrew Swan, representing the GSCC.

McLoughlin was employed on a temporary basis and had a contract which was due to run until October 28 2005.

During the investigation into the incident, McLoughlin accepted he had been very intoxicated and had consumed about one-and-a-half bottles of wine and a few pints and accepted he may have made some inappropriate comments.

He resigned on the day of a disciplinary hearing in September 2005, a month before his contract expired.

Mr Swan read out a statement from Mr A in which he said McLoughlin helped him set up the detox and was "very encouraging".

He said McLoughlin was "hammered" in the pub that day and the incident "let me down big time".

Mr A said: "It was like he did the job so he could get paid at the end of the week."

Elizabeth Johnson, an area manager for Sheffield Care Trust who led the investigation, read from a statement in which she concluded: "He was a genuinely nice and committed chap, but with an alcohol problem. The outcome for Mr A was devastating. He was lucky he had his grandmother for support."

The committee said it was of the view that the evidence of Mr A and his partner was "reliable" about the offer to buy an alcoholic drink.

It said: "The committee found, as a fact, that the registrant had been very drunk at the time of the incident and was satisfied, to the required standard, that the witnesses were being truthful when they said that the registrant had offered to buy Mr A a double whisky."