Nurse awarded £462k for unfair dismissal
A senior district nurse who was unfairly dismissed after voicing her intention to launch whistleblowing proceedings has been awarded more than £462,000 in compensation following a four-year legal battle.
The former nurse had 38 years’ experience in the NHS and oversaw a team of around 50 district nurses and was dismissed after she raised concerns about patient safety due to pressure on district nursing resources.
The employee had voiced concerns about a new local authority requirement for district nurses to monitor patients’ prescriptions. She said it meant a sudden increase of around 1,000 extra visits a month for the service with no extra resources. Over the next 10 months, she made numerous reports about the health or safety of patients and staff being put at risk.
The death of a patient prompted a meeting in which the nurse suggested that the incident could have been prevented had her earlier concerns been addressed. Later that month, she told a manager that she wished to begin a formal whistleblowing procedure.
She then went on annual leave, but on her return she was told she was suspended over allegations of gross misconduct relating to her leadership. She was suspended for 18 months and after various investigations and appeals she was eventually dismissed.
The employment tribunal found that the nurse’s complaints amounted to protected disclosures (known as whistleblowing). The investigation into the alleged misconduct had been “inadequate and unreasonable in all the circumstances of the case” and had been designed to dismiss the employee because she had made protected disclosures.
The employment tribunal awarded £462,612.26 for unfair dismissal, loss of earnings and interest.