Mental health nursing staff win fight over 'restraint' sacking
A mental health nurse and two healthcare assistants have won a fight to clear their names after being fired over restraining a patient.
The trio were found guilty of gross misconduct and sacked by Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust after an incident at Bodmin Hospital. Qualified nurse Sharon Little and HCAs Tim Spear and Martin Smith had to physically restrain the violent patient on Harvest Ward.
After employment tribunal, judge Nicholas Roper decided they were fired unfairly.
“In my judgement, that is an extraordinary and unreasonable conclusion”
Ms Little said they were pleased with the decision but had been through a large amount of stress during the two-year battle to clear their names.
The judge said the patient’s side of the story had been believed over the nurses’ evidence, which was “extraordinary and unreasonable” because in several areas it was shown to be wrong.
He also said the man was “a very ill psychiatric patient who is dangerous and disruptive”, adding that he was “an inconsistent and unreliable witness”.
Mr Roper said part of the reasoning used when deciding to fire the nurses was criticism of their accounts as inconsistent. But there was no reasonable reason to dismiss them for gross misconduct, he said.
He added that before the assault allegations, all three nurses had clean disciplinary records and a total of 50 years service in care of mental health patients. He said being fired had in effect ended their careers.
Mr Roper said: “The patient was found to be credible, and his evidence preferred to that of the three claimants.
“In my judgement, that is an extraordinary and unreasonable conclusion.”