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NHS whistleblower wins £500,000 for unfair dismissal

A “commended” NHS nurse has been awarded nearly £500,000 for being wrongly sacked after she claimed that high workloads led to a patient’s death.

Linda Fairhall, 62, a 44-year veteran of the health service, said she made 13 separate pleas to bosses warning that her colleagues were overburdened, but she was ignored each time.

Fairhal told officials at the University Hospital of North Tees and Hartlepool that she was worried about a recently imposed policy that obliged nurses to monitor patients who took prescribed medicines and maintained that it led to nurses having to conduct 1,000 extra patient visits a month without extra resources.

She said nurses were overwhelmed by the additional responsibility, which resulted in rising “anxiety” among staff and higher rates of absence. However, Fairhall told the tribunal in Teesside that nothing was done in response to her concerns, and ultimately a patient died.

The tribunal heard that the nurse raised her last warning with officials just before she went on annual leave. On her return she was suspended and investigated for “bullying and harassment”, then sacked for gross misconduct.

A tribunal has now ruled that the decision to dismiss Fairhall was “materially influenced” by her complaints regarding patient safety, with the panel adding that it could not “genuinely believe” that she was guilty of misconduct.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 4 January 2023

Read the full tribunal decision: Ms L Fairhall v University Hospital of North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust


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I believe this needs more coverage on the hub

I draw your attention to an excellent campaigner leading the way with two recent tweets saying it all
Patient safety advocate from patient family perspective 
Without whistleblowrs protection and empowerment little change can be achieved
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