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Bullied hospital worker awarded £150,000 compensation

  • 13 Comments

A bullied NHS manager who suffered a nervous breakdown is to receive £150,000 in compensation.

Nanette Bowen, who had been employed at the Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli for 28 years, was harassed over a three-year period and was eventually signed off sick with stress, according to her union Unison.

The information manager had worked her way up the ranks at the hospital, from porter to information manager, reporting directly to the chief executive. 

Unison said that in 2000 she was given a new boss, Eric Lewis, when Llanelli and Dinefwr Trusts merged to become Camarthenshire Trust (now part of Hywel Dda Trust).

Unison said that he made sexual innuendos towards her and was regularly aggressive when challenged. Ms Bowen’s responsibility for hiring staff was also removed, and she had to fill in a daily form for him to monitor her work. The harassment caused Ms Bowen stress and panic attacks, and she was signed off sick.

Swansea County Court found that Carmarthenshire Trust was liable last February. The parties involved have now agreed a compensation package.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The compensation will go some way towards her loss of earnings, but it will never make up for years of suffering and the loss of her old life.”

Mrs Bowen said: “The NHS was my life, so I have had to leave a job I loved and have been able to go out properly only three times in the past six years.”

Hywel Dda Local Health Board chief executive Trevor Purt said: “Hywel Dda Health Board does not condone bullying of any kind and policies and procedures are in place to deal with any allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

He added: “Since this case, the former Carmarthenshire NHS Trust, now part of the health board, reviewed systems relating to workplace health and the new organisation has identified additional training requirements to ensure that the issues raised in this type of case are managed appropriately.”

  • 13 Comments

Readers' comments (13)

  • how about saying that little word "SORRY" instead of the crap that no one believes that has been written as a reply by Hywel Dda Health Board
    we are supposed to be a caring profession i havent seen much of it, more a blame culture than a no blame culture and i have been nursing for over 30 years

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  • George Kuchanny

    I wholeheartedly endorse Anonymous' 14-Jan-2010 comment. Concise to the point and 100% CORRECT. Enough said? I will add that a pathological inability to say "sorry" and "I don't know" is crippling the NHS and the poor unfortunates who have to go in day in day out (a life sentence, no less) to face the same old problems that come with working with a bunch of arrogant Prima Donnas...

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  • So no doubt the Manager got his wrist slapped and was sent for retraining just so that he can go and bully another day, whilst his victim lost her career......does not seem fair somehow.

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  • in the blame culture the nhs has instigated, the managers colleagues would not havesupported her but rather turned a blindeye. bullying is widespread

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  • i totally agree- ive seen a manager get contiunally promoted each time the tension got to hot - this woman was literally unbelivable and she got away with it every time!! moved on to the next poor place and promoted!! ive worked psyche and general and (although my experience of psyche has been better) its as though in public services the higher up u are the more untouchable you become. theres no system or genuine support for us guys its all fake bravado so the nhs nmc doesnt get sued whilst we are trying to do our jobs with that whip constantly pelting us and having to worry bout litegation and if we are going to get demoralised or shouted at today. theres a bully in my current job in itu - he is very aggressive, shouts at the nurses, patronises you and tries to make u look stupid in fron t of the biggest audience he can get (other staff, pateints, relatives)- i go to other managers - and am told thats just the way he is u just have to get on with it - deal with it!!

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  • We are supposed to be the caring profession, however we don't do a good job of caring for each other and supporting each other as other professions do. In many areas within the NHS it is if your face fits. If not, you get the worst off duty and in some places you go on your break alone. I doubt it will ever be any other way despite all these policies. I know many staff who are being victimised and went through these systems, and were told it was a clash of personalities and to get on with it.

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  • The general public have a right to know what has happened to Eric Lewis.

    He has cost the NHS a lot of money and must surely have been disciplined for gross misconduct.

    Whilst we will never get rid of bullies completely, staff must continue to stand up to them and unions continue to support them.

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  • I agree Eric Lewis should be removed from his post as he has now cost the NHS £150.000 and ruined the wellbeing and career of Nanette Bowen, shame on you Eric Lewis perhaps a couple of months as a porter will give you good grounding !!!

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  • I now understand why people who works in the nhs encourage their children not to join the NHS especially the nursing profession. The amount of bullying and disrespectfulness that goes on is unbelievable. I have worked in factories and in offices and seen incidents of bullying dealt with much better than in the nhs. Unfortunately if you complain about bullying you are told speak to your line manager bearing in mind the line manager and the bully are best friends. What happened to Eric Lewis this problem should have been dealt with long before it reach this stage.

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  • I agree with all of the above. I am a desperate agency rgn, who is not allowed to work in her local trust as the nurse bank manager has chosen not to have me. No actual reason has been given to me by my agency,i have no recourse as the RCN has said there is nothing they can do as I work for an agency. Who do I turn to and others like me? Is there a law or body that is even interested?

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