A significant U-turn by the management of Barts Health Trust has seen a sacked whistleblowing union rep re-instated after being dismissed almost two years ago.
Charlotte Monro, a rep for Unison, and the trust have reached a deal despite the fact that an employment tribunal has yet to issue a judgment on her claim of unfair dismissal.
Ms Monro was sacked in July 2013 after Barts Health Trust claimed she had failed to declare criminal convictions linked to political protests she was involved in during the 1970s when she started work at Whipps Cross Hospital in 1987.
She claimed the trust took action against her because of concerns she had raised over a proposed loss of staff and beds on the stroke unit at Whipps Cross hospital, in Leytonstone, and after she raised concerns at a Waltham Forest council meeting.
The U-turn announced yesterday follows the resignations of the trust chief executive, chair, finance director and nursing director in recent weeks and the trust being placed in special measures by the CQC, which highlighted a poor culture and bullying at the trust.
The recent review of whistleblowing in the NHS by Sir Robert Francis has led to new laws, given royal assent last week, which protect NHS whistleblowers from discrimination in looking for new jobs. The review also recommended that whistleblowers be offered remedies including reinstatement or support to find new jobs in the NHS.
In the statement Barts Health Trust said it had invited Ms Monro to return to her job and she had accepted and a confidential agreement with her over the employment tribunal claim.
It added: “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 confirms that, as part of Charlotte’s return, 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 statement also said the trust valued the contribution Ms Monro would make in light of the CQC report into Whipps Cross Hospital.
Members of the trust executive team will be meeting with her “for an open and frank discussion about lessons to be learnt and Charlotte’s future contribution”, it said.