Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Sacked Unison rep Charlotte Monro wins reinstatement by Barts Trust

Sacked Unison rep Charlotte Monro is to be reinstated in her job as moving and handling co-ordinator at Whipps Cross hospital.

Ms Monro was awaiting the judgement of an employment tribunal, over her alleged unfair dismissal in October 2013, but Barts Health NHS Trust moved to reinstate her before the judgement was delivered.

She had been sacked after what was alleged to be a breach of confidentiality and undisclosed convictions going back over 30 years.

Ms Monro, though, maintained throughout that the real reason for her dismissal was her role as a trade union rep, standing up for fellow workers and the hospital itself. The move to dismiss her only began after she spoke to the local council scrutiny committee.

"I am really happy to be returning to work with my team and the rest of the staff at Whipps Cross Hospital, and Barts Health NHS Trust.  And I look forward to being able to contribute to the work I understand is now under way, in response to the CQC report, to bring about improvement in our hospital,” said Ms Monro. “Health staff must be able to speak out for their patients and services without fear. They must be free to organise themselves in trade unions and stand as representatives knowing that their rights as a union rep will be respected, and that the role of an independent union campaigning for the interests of the staff, their patients and services is also respected. These were issues at the heart of my case. Its resolution will I hope contribute to building a climate of openness and confidence so needed in our health service.”

A statement from Barts Health NHS Trust confirmed that it had invited Charlotte Monro to return to employment at Whipps Cross Hospital and that Charlotte has accepted the invitation.

“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,” said the Trust statement. “The Trust and Charlotte have also reached confidential terms of agreement in respect of her Employment Tribunal claim. The Trust has valued the discussion of issues during the Employment Tribunal process

The Trust further confirmed that: “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. 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.”

The Trust confirmed that following the recent publication of the Care Quality Commission inspection report into Whipps Cross Hospital, an Improvement Board has been put in place to address all the concerns raised by the CQC. “Charlotte Monro is an energetic and committed campaigner on patient care issues in the NHS, and the Trust welcomes the contribution which Charlotte will undoubtedly be able to make to the discussion about ensuring Whipps Cross’s future. Members of the Trust’s Executive will be meeting with Charlotte, Unison Regional Officer Derek Helyar, Chair of Staff Side at Whipps Cross, Valerie Phillips and Chair of the Staff Partnership Forum, Mireille Braid, in the near future, for an open and frank discussion about lessons to be learnt and Charlotte’s future contribution,” said the Trust. “The Trust values Charlotte’s long professional contribution over many years to standards of patient care and to patient and staff safety.”

Ms Monro added: “It's vital that Whipps Cross becomes again a hospital of choice for health staff to work in, where they can provide the best standards of health care to our local population, and find a good future.

“I want to thank my union UNISON for its backing and support in taking my case to tribunal, and to thank our highly committed legal team. I have been moved and inspired by the support from colleagues, from health campaigners and fellow trade unionists, and so many other people. It has held me up through some pretty difficult times and brought home that the issues I faced have far wider significance for people.

 “Together we are standing up for what we believe in and this has made all the difference. Let’s continue to do so for the future of our NHS."

* see morning star - 1/4/2015

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