The Royal College of Nursing is searching for nurses who may be eligible for thousands of pounds of compensation after being unfairly banned from working by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
It follows the decision of three nurses to take the government to the European Court of Human Rights after the ISA barred them from working with children or vulnerable adults for 10 years.
As reported in Nursing Times, the ISA’s decision was found in November to be unlawful by the high court as the nurses were not given a fair chance to put forward their side of the story.
They are now suing the Home Office, which oversees the ISA, for loss of earnings and damage to their feelings and reputation.
The RCN’s senior legal officer, Jonathan Green, said the nurses, whose identities are protected by law, would be eligible for payouts of between £4,000 and £20,000.
The RCN is now trying to find out how many other nurses investigated by the ISA could be owed compensation.
More than 70 cases involving nurses have been opened since October 2009 but not all were “autobarred”, meaning they received a 10 year ban after receiving a police caution.
Mr Green said: “People’s human rights are being affected. Potentially, anybody who’s been autobarred may be entitled to bring a case to Europe.
“If there are people who haven’t contacted the RCN, they can get in touch for advice and support.”
The three nurses who have already decided to go to Europe were punished by the ISA for a range of reasons. One left her 11-year-old son at home while she went shopping.
Another was handed a police caution after his wife left their children alone for a period, without his know-ledge, while he was at work. The last nurse kissed a colleague without their permission.
An interim report on a government review into the vetting and barring scheme is due in the coming weeks.
Unison’s head of nursing Gail Adams said none of its members had been affected.