This site is intended for health professionals only

Nurse loses appeal over dismissal

A psychiatric nurse has lost an appeal against her dismissal after she spoke out against spending and job cuts.

Karen Reissman, who has been a nurse for 25 years, lost an internal appeal against her dismissal from the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, which accused her of bringing the organisation into disrepute.

Now rallies have taken place in support of Ms Reissman, who was local branch chairman of Unison.

The union said it is "extremely disappointed" over the decision not to reinstate Ms Reissman, adding that it will now take her case to an employment tribunal.

Steve Stott, a regional official at Unison, said: "I want to make it clear that we will use all legal means open to us to get this decision overturned."

Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Nick Clegg has also joined the campaign, claiming that after meeting Ms Reissman, he is "convinced of the sincerity of her motives".

He added: "She is a long-standing NHS employee who voiced understandable concern about the effect of changes being pushed through by NHS managers.

"Frankly, the public expect NHS bosses to spend more time improving care for patients than pursuing a vendetta against a committed, if outspoken, employee."

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust

Related story:
NHS staff protest over sacked nurse, Karen Reissmann

Tell us what you feel about this issue. Please leave your comment, name and address in the feedback box below. Your details will not be published if you so wish. (Terms and conditions apply)

"I feel extremely disappointed with how this Registered Nurse has been treated. In my opinion, this only reflects the very nature that the NHS is aiming towards. This lady deserves promotion, not demotion or dismissal  - Name and address supplied

"I'm very concerned about the freedom of speech. I don't consider it as a misconduct." - Name and address supplied

"What has happened to freedom of speech? I believe thousands of clinicians feel as she does and commend her on having the courage to speak out. I assume she tried other ways to be heard first, but as often happens her concerns may have fallen on deaf managers ears." - Name and address supplied

"I think that it is a very sad day for the nursing profession when we can no longer support the needs of our patients, without fear of reprisal." - Gina Robinson, Sunderland

"Whilst there are certainly NHS employees and others out there that are prepared (sometimes one feels for the sake of it) to bad mouth the NHS come what may - those with the power and this certainly seems to be an example, are prepared to hound or do what ever it takes to prevent opinion being voiced and this I think is wrong and should not result in jobs being lost - managers have the power to cover up all their mistakes and get away with it by closing ranks. This kind of action is two faced and should be stoped at once - Give her back her job NOW!" - M.Wood

"It is a disgrace to be sacked for voicing an opinion. You should be sacked for clinical incompetence, not for stating the truth!!!!" - Name and address supplied

"I think it is so wrong that she got sacked, she needs to be reinstated" - Name and address supplied

"This could be a watershed moment for all nurses and my sympathy goes out to Karen. I wonder who she had approached to voice her concerns within the organisation prior to speaking out. I wonder how her concerns were received. She had probably been banging her head against a brick wall for years and had finally had enough. Two or three things come immediately to mind; firstly it is a nurse's duty to speak out on behalf of patient care, we are the patients' advocates, our code of conduct requires us to speak out. Not to do so would have contravened the NMC code of conduct. Secondly, the trust appears to have made an example of this nurse presumably to deter anyone else from speaking out and if this is the case there are serious problems with approachability and communication within the trust, which suggests a non-listening, autocratic culture, with an agenda for keeping the status quo. Definitely not conducive to good patient focussed care. We'll have to wait and see the outcome but I can only now worry about the possibly repercussions of such an action by a trust, what will now constitute bringing an organisation into disrepute? I wonder if the chief exec has any parking tickets?" - Name and address supplied

"It seems to me another case of managers gunning for those who have the knowledge, understanding and experience to know when things are wrong and the confidence to try and do something about it. I congratulate Ms Reissman for standing up for what is right for the patients and am disgusted with the PCT for their treatment of one of their most experienced nurses" - Name and address supplied