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Trust faces protest over claims that nurse's career was 'ruined'


The husband of a nurse has claimed his wife’s career was “ruined” by unfounded allegations and “bullying”, which led her to give up her job at Worcestershire Health and Social Care Trust.

Nigel Gilbert was among a group of friends and family who took part in a demonstration at the trust’s headquarters on 22 July, as part of an ongoing campaign to restore the reputation of retired community psychiatric nurse Ingra Kirkland.

The group, which calls itself Betrayed By Her Trust, has been campaigning for more than two years after Ms Kirkland left the organisation under a cloud in December 2011. She had been employed by the trust for about 20 years when she was accused of being involved in record-keeping anomalies and moved from her post to a job on a ward.

“We just want our specific allegations looked into. It’s an issue of accountability”

Nigel Gilbert

However, her supporters claim the former Unison steward did little more than warn a fellow nurse she had forgotten to record an injection and advise her colleague to correct the omission.

Ms Kirkland underwent an internal investigation and was due to appear at a disciplinary hearing when she decided to accept a retirement deal, because she was scared of being sacked and losing her pension, according to Mr Gilbert.

The deal included a compromise agreement, which means Ms Kirkland – who is not involved in the campaign – feels unable to speak to the media for fear of legal action.

The group is calling for an inquiry into the way Ms Kirkland was treated and has made a series of allegations, which the protestors spelt out on placards at last month’s demonstration.

“We’re not looking to have people hung, drawn and quartered or anything. We just want our specific allegations looked into. It’s an issue of accountability,” said Mr Gilbert who said the campaigners were also seeking an apology from the trust.

He said the couple’s lives had been “blighted” by the situation. “We think about this most days,” he said. “Ingra’s self-respect and confidence has been very damaged. I say to her she’s got nothing to be ashamed about, but she feels humiliated and cheapened.”

The trust told Nursing Times the case was a confidential matter and it could not respond in detail.

“The circumstances that relate to this involve a confidential HR matter regarding a former employee of the trust,” the trust said in a statement. “As such it would not be appropriate for the trust to provide any further comment.”

The Betrayed By Her Trust group has already staged a number of demonstrations and set up a campaign website. Another protest is planned towards the end of August.


Readers' comments (31)

  • michael stone

    'However, her supporters claim the former Unison steward did little more than warn a fellow nurse she had forgotten to record an injection and advise her colleague to correct the omission.'

    I'm trying to be balanced here: everyone makes some mistakes - to my mind, one sin is claim that mistakes are never made at all.

    So to my mind, that missing noted injection is a mistake: the record should be corrected immediately; but the correction must 'admit it is a late entry' (in other words, the added note must say 'this is recorded at time T+X to point out that there was an injection at time T'.

    Unless someone persistently fails to complete notes correctly, I don't see this as anything more than 'one of those things that happen' - but 'management' might take a different view (which is why, you get this type of 'covering up' and the problems which then arise).

    Trying to alter notes to cover something up, is an entirley different issue !

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  • Whenever there is a scapegoat, there is usually a hidden agenda. What is the organisation hiding?

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  • 20 years unblemished record must count for something? It sounds as if management might have leaned a bit heavily here and there may well be a cover up going on.Should be an investigation to clear everything up.
    After all-what have they got to hide I wonder?

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  • How very sad that this should happen; at worst a development plan is what was required, even then that's a bit of a sledge hammer for a carpet tack approach! I am very sorry that a career should end like this. Best of luck I do so hope the campaign is successful

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  • I am a nurse also the sister of someone who suffers with severe mental health issues. I noticed a lot of inaccuracies in the care plan review of my sister that had been part written by a senior nurse. I raised my concerns. The approach by the Trust was to attack me, cause problems with the relationship with my sister and sorry to say it but lie. It has turned into a 2 year nightmare. I really don't know where to turn but I am hugely concerned for the physical and mental well being of my sister and the Trust just don't care.

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  • Good on this husband and friends for speaking out. I completely understand their need to speak out, as there doesn't appear to be any real opportunity for a right to reply for nurses in this type of situation.

    We are in a similar situation, with my partner at a loss to rationalise the way we nurses are governed, particularly after sitting through my NMC panel hearing recently, more a forgone conclusion than a hearing.

    Keep up the pressure guys, we need to be heard!!

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  • SOP for many NHS trusts...

    Let me see...A union rep...How many times might a union rep have challenged management?

    Hands up all those with a history of justifiably challenging managers whose jobs "disappeared" in " re-structurings"? Certainly happened to me: I waited out my last year before retirement in fear of some trumped up rubbish like that in this piece.

    See, for example, what can happen to union reps like Yunus Bakhsh.

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  • This poor person’s experience has been replicated hundreds of times, rather thousands of times I would guess, throughout the UK BECAUSE no one knows what trusts are up to. The managers are completely UNACCOUNTABLE. And if I sound angry it is because I have been hearing of these sorts of situations for the last 12 years through our website . And the person describing her experiences at the hands of the NMC just compounds what many others have found, that there is no truth or justice there either. Staff have nowhere to turn.
    So THANK YOU Nursing Times for running this story. THANK YOU husband, family and friends for continuing your brave campaign. I wish you well but am not hopeful of truth prevailing. The NHS is one place where that truism doesn’t hold any water.
    Julie Fagan, founder member of CAUSE – Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions and Exclusions UK

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  • I, too, have seen appalling management practice and acceptance of management deceit and bullying by trust officials. Suspension is used as a weapon and confidentiality and threats used to silence dissent. Good luck to this nurse....and to the many others suffering similar maltreatment. If enough of us publicise these cases, and support organisations like CAUSE, then we will make positive changes

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  • I would like to comment on the nurse who is supporting his/her sister who has severe mental health issues I noticed a lot of inaccuracies in the care plan review of my brother and was faced with the same negative behaviour from the trust, how sad is it that some trusts do not want to make positive changes to the way we practice. I for one welcome any feed back in my place of work from both my peers, patients/relatives and management. How else can we learn and improve in our practice. The blame culture is still around in some places unfortunately. I wish both the nurse who is caring for there loved one and the nurse who has been punished for all her long and hard work over the years all the very best for now and the future.

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