Whistleblowing nurse wins £15,000 payout after unfair dismissal
A senior overseas nurse unfairly dismissed for criticising conditions at a UK care home has won £15,000 in an employment tribunal decision.
Shanta Sangraula, president of the Nepalese Nurses Association UK, was dismissed by the owners of the Whitefriars Nursing Home in Southall after she raised concerns about abuse of elderly residents by colleagues and poor administration of medicines.
Incidents raised by Ms Sangraula included one care home resident allegedly being left outside in hot sunshine as a punishment, and threatened with having water poured over his head when he refused medication.
Ms Sangraula appealed against her dismissal, which occurred in May last year, but was unsuccessful, sparking the Royal College of Nursing to lodge a claim on her behalf.
An employment tribunal in Watford ruled on 6 September that the care home’s actions had been unreasonable and that Ms Sangraula had raised her concerns in good faith.
The tribunal said the judgement “should be a lesson” to the owners of Whitefriars – who are registered under the name Caring Consultancy Ltd – in improving their employment practices.
The tribunal papers state: “The respondent company had created an environment where there was an atmosphere that was not conducive to complaints being made by staff to the management about the care of residents.
“On the contrary…there was an atmosphere where it was difficult, if not impossible, for such allegations to be made without the complainant running some risk of their employment being jeopardised.”
RCN assistant legal officer Stephen Hall, who handled the case, said: “It is vital that employers allow nurses to raise concerns without retribution. Otherwise poor practice can just continue unchecked.”
The RCN also confirmed the concerns raised about the home would be referred to the Care Quality Commission.
The home was given a two star “good” rating in July 2008, the last time it was inspected by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
The CQC, the combined health and social care regulator which succeeded CSCI, stopped running the star ratings inspections programme on 30 June 2010, replacing it with a system of registration.