Unions have delivered a motion of no confidence in the senior management team at Bedford Hospital trust in a row over alleged victimisation of a union representative.

MSF, Unison and the Royal College of Nursing are among those who tabled the no-confidence motion and called for an external inquiry into the trust's cardiac technical services. The move follows claims by chief executive Ken Williams that the department failed to order follow-up visits for 20 patients with heart pacemakers.

Technical services manager Monica Carmichael, a member of MSF and the trust's joint staff-side committee secretary, was suspended in October after allegations that she bullied and harassed staff.

A trust spokesperson said a review was ordered after a patient came to the accident and emergency department with pacemaker problems in November and said he had not received a home visit. A locum technician has been employed, nine patients recalled and six fitted with replacement pacemakers.

But MSF says the latest allegations are a 'fishing expedition' by the trust. It insists that the allegations of bullying are unfounded.

Ms Carmichael says she was suspended because she complained about staffing levels and the treatment of a pregnant cardiac technician by a senior cardiac consultant.

MSF regional officer John Simmons said: 'The trust really has ripped up the whistleblowers' charter. The reason for the delay in home visits was because of severe staff shortages, which is one of the things Monica was suspended for complaining about.'