First published Wednesday 1 April 2015 in Waltham Forest Guardian
Last updated 12:12 Thursday 2 April 2015
by Zoie O’Brien, Reporter, covering Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone.
Sacked union leader reinstated after health trust u-turn
A union leader sacked by the trust which runs Whipps Cross Hospital is to be reinstated after a two-year battle.
Unison rep Charlotte Monro was dismissed from her role at the hospital in 2013 after 26 years, after Barts Health Trust said she failed to disclose criminal convictions relating to historic political activism.
Ms Monro challenged the dismissal, claiming she was sacked after raising concerns about care at the hospital.
The trust is now in special measures after widespread failings in care standards and a culture of bullying at Whipps were identified by Care Quality Commission inspectors.
Ms Monro challenged her dismissal at a tribunal held this month, but Barts Health has now backed down ahead of a ruling.
She will now return to her role as a moving and handling co-ordinator.
Last night, Ms Monro insisted staff must feel free to raise concerns.
She said: “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.
“It’s vital that Whipps Cross becomes again a hospital of choice for health staff to work in.
“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.”
Ms Monro thanked UNISON and her legal team for their support, stating she had been “moved and inspired” by colleagues, health campaigners and fellow trade unionists.
In a statement, Barts Health Trust said: “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 Trust and Charlotte have also reached confidential terms of agreement in respect of her Employment Tribunal claim.
“Charlotte deeply appreciates the thorough exploration of the issues in an objective light that the Tribunal has enabled.
Barts has also agreed to remove all disciplinary notes from Ms Monro’s records.
“The Trust values Charlotte’s long professional contribution over many years to standards of patient care and to patient and staff safety,” the statement added.
2 Apr 2015 – 19:06 by WDNF