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Nurse wins staff shortages whistleblowing case

An NHS trust has lost an employment tribunal case against a nurse who had his shifts cancelled after whistleblowing when a patient was put in seclusion because of staff shortages.

A judgment published last week found that Mark Temperton, a mental health nurse, was “subjected to detriment” after having made a “protected disclosure” during his agency shift at Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation Trust’s (GMMH) Atherleigh Park Hospital.

Mr Temperton, who is also employed by the Priory Group as a regulatory inspector as well as doing ad-hoc work for the Care Quality Commission, worked as an agency mental health nurse for Blackstone Recruitment and was booked to work a night shift in a psychiatric intensive care unit (Priestners Unit) at Atherleigh Park on 14 October 2022.

He raised concerns after a patient, brought in by the police, was put “immediately” into seclusion because of staff shortages. Mr Temperton subsequently raised it with the nurse in charge and with a locum consultant psychiatrist but the patient was kept in seclusion.

According to the Mental Health Act’s Code of Practice, seclusion “should not be used as a punishment or a threat, or because of a shortage of staff”. Serious concerns were also raised about the trust’s Edenfield Centre in September 2022 by BBC Panorama, one of them being use of inappropriate seclusion.

Paul Lewis-Grundy, associate director of corporate governance at GMMH, said: “It is absolutely vital that staff feel confident and safe to speak up, with no detrimental impact to themselves or their career and prospects. Over the past two years, we have invested significantly, and taken a number of steps, to support this across GMMH.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 15 May 2024


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