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Care whistleblower in 'bullying' claim loses bid for £185k
A HEALTH worker at Southend Hospital failed in her attempt to sue for damages after claiming she was bullied for whistleblowing.
Healthcare assistant Gillian Austin, 58, took her fight to East London Employment Tribunal Service for £185,000 in damages, alleging she was subjected to six months of victimisation.
She reported a nurse for taking just four-and-a-half hours off between a night shift and her next shift, believing it was putting patients at risk.
Mrs Austin claimed she was bullied by colleagues after making the allegation.
However, a tribunal dismissed her claim after hearing evidence last month. Mrs Austin, from Hockley, but who has moved out of the area because of stress, said: “It appears justice will not be served.
“I’m flabbergasted. The judgment does not seem to give me any credibility, but I told the truth from start to finish.
“Messages of support from my colleagues and former colleagues have been fantastic, but obviously count for nothing as to my character and motivation in raising matters of public concern.
“I have todecide whether to appeal against this decision. But given the events so far, it begs the question ‘what is the point?’”
An official grievance was lodged by Mrs Austin in November 2009.
The hospital held an independent inquiry, which found whistleblowing procedures had not been correctly followed, but it found no evidence of intimidation or bullying.
Mrs Austin, who is on anti-depressants has worked for the hospital for 16 years.
She said after years of stress and the outcome, she felt she could not return to the job and patients she loved.
She added: “Given what has been going on, I am unable to return to work as it will be like going into the lion’s den. I have advised my ward manager of my wish to retire on stress-related, ill-health grounds.’’
Mrs Austin, who earns £26,000 a year, was warnedbya judge lastyear she had little chance of winning the case. She now faces a costs bill of as much as £60,000.
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