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Employment tribunals come across a variety of cases but the judges that found a trust had “scapegoated” a forensic psychiatrist over a patient’s death perhaps did not expect this much.

Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust was found to have unfairly sacked Bernadette McInerney in a recently published decision, having been strongly criticised in the process.

The judgment said the mental health provider “displayed throughout a pattern of conduct which was self-serving of both [itself] and senior employers”.

Employment judge Michael Butler took a dim view of the trust witnesses’ evidence, but was especially critical of NHFT’s former executive director of forensic services Peter Wright.

An inquiry was launched after a patient, referred to as CW, took her own life at Rampton secure hospital in February 2016.

The tribunal was critical of reports that condemned Dr McInerney’s care of the patient, while also calling a standards probe launched into her as “flawed”.

An informal meeting in February 2018 presented her with the options of resigning, retiring early, or facing a conduct hearing.

She retired early, but judges formed a “very strong impression” that directors wanted to get rid of her “one way or another”.

Children’s deaths spark wider safety inquiry

Great Ormond Street Hospital Foundation Trust has linked five serious incidents partly to what it describes as a “faulty” batch of a type of glue used to close wounds during surgery.

Five serious incidents, including the deaths of two children, have sparked ‘urgent’ investigations into the processes through which clinicians are alerted to potential safety concerns over medical products used on patients. The incidents at the London hospital happened between December 2020 and April 2021. 

The glue, called Histoacryl, is produced by B Braun Medical Ltd, and the company issued three separate “field safety notices”, relating to different batches of the product, in March and April this year.

The company has stressed that it followed the correct recall processes throughout.

According to a report to GOSH’s public board meeting on 29 September, Histoacryl has been used for the endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations for more than 30 years, but earlier this year batches of the product were identified as hardening less rapidly than expected.

The trust told HSJ in a statement: “The investigation found that whilst the passage of glue through the intended vessel may have been contributory in some instances of harm, it was unlikely to be the sole or main factor.”