Essex

Mid Essex whistleblower gets £127k for unfair sacking

Broomfield Hospital
Image caption Andrew Smith worked at Broomfield Hospital before being dismissed in 2015

A nurse who was unfairly dismissed after an unblemished 28-year career has been awarded more than £127,000.

Andrew Smith was sacked in 2015 by Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust after alleging staff were being bullied, not given proper breaks and not receiving a supplement to cover high living costs.

An employment tribunal ruled he was dismissed because he was a whistleblower.

The trust said it would "reflect upon the findings".

Mr Smith, a Gulf War veteran who worked at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) he was concerned lessons had not been learned from his case.

He said: "My main concerns are about patient and staff safety in Mid Essex Hospital NHS Trust and the fact that staff raising concerns are targeted by managers because they don't want the concerns to be raised in the public interest. My case has proved that."

'Destroyed'

Whistleblowers are protected by law and should not be treated unfairly or lose their job because they reveal certain types of wrongdoing that are in the public interest.

The nurse added his career had been "destroyed", he had been denied his long service award and he could not get another job in the area despite being cleared by the tribunal.

The trust argued he had been seen as a nuisance and was guilty of gross misconduct after a breakdown in the relationship between employer and employee.

But in his summary of last year's proceedings, employment judge Martin Warren said "they dismissed him because he was a whistleblower".

The Royal College of Nursing decided however there was insufficient evidence in support of Mr Smith's claims for retention and recruitment.

The trust said it would carefully consider the details raised in any whistleblowing case and an external service had been brought in to provide an independent point of contact for staff concerns.

"Following Mr Smith's allegations, an independent inquiry conducted by an external company looked at the concerns raised and found that the trust had acted appropriately and correctly on all of the matters raised," a spokesman said.

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