A significant U-turn by the management of Barts Health Trust has seen a sacked whistleblowing union rep re-instated after being dismissed almost two years ago.
The trust has reached a deal with Unison rep Charlotte Monro, an occupational therapist with more than 30 years’ experience, even though an employment tribunal has yet to issue a judgment on her claim of unfair dismissal.
Ms Monro was sacked in July 2013 after Barts Health claimed she had failed to declare criminal convictions linked to political protests that she was involved in during the 1970s when she started work at the trust’s Whipps Cross Hospital in 1987.
She claimed the trust took action against her because of concerns she had raised over a proposed loss of staff and beds on the stroke unit at Whipps Cross in Leytonstone, which she had highlighted at a Waltham Forest council meeting.
The U-turn announced yesterday follows the resignations of the trust’s chief executive, chair, finance director and nursing director in recent weeks. The organisation was also placed in special measures by regulators last month, after the Care Quality Commission highlighted a poor culture and bullying.
The recent high profile review of whistleblowing in the NHS has led to new laws, given royal assent last week, which are designed to protect health service whistleblowers from discrimination when looking for new jobs.
“The trust has valued the discussion of issues during the employment tribunal process”
The review, by Sir Robert Francis, also recommended that whistleblowers be offered remedies including reinstatement or support to find new jobs in the NHS.
In the statement, Barts Health Trust said it had invited Ms Monro to return to her job and she had accepted. A confidential agreement had been made with her over the employment tribunal claim, it added.
“Charlotte will be returning in the very near future, working three days a week as a moving and handling co-ordinator, following a period of re-training,” the statement said.
“The trust confirms that, as part of Charlotte’s return, it will for all purposes in the future, be removing reference from Charlotte’s employment record with the trust, the disciplinary matters which were the subject of an internal process against Charlotte and which were then reviewed by the employment tribunal,” it said.
“This will allow Charlotte and the trust to move forward fully, from what we acknowledge has been a difficult process for all concerned, above all for Charlotte herself,” it added.
The statement also said the trust valued the contribution Ms Monro would make in light of the CQC’s recent report into Whipps Cross Hospital.
Members of the trust executive team will be meeting with her “for an open and frank discussion about lessons to be learnt and Charlotte’s future contribution”, it noted.