30 May 2008
Workers win £90k in damages in unfair dismissal settlement
Two health workers have been awarded around £90,000 after their unfair dismissal claim was settled.
Gail Freeman and Steve Wood took their case against Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust - which provides services to around 1.4 million people.
They accused the trust of making them scapegoats for the death of a patient.
The pair were sacked last year following the earlier suicide of a mentally disturbed patient.
Ms Freeman had been on duty on a secure mental health ward at St Luke's Hospital and was trying to cope with the patient, who lashed out at staff and constantly made suicide attempts.
The police were called, but, prior to their arrival, Mr Wood - a community support worker - agreed to impersonate a police officer to try and calm the patient down.
Subsequently, the genuine police arrived and, while in custody later that afternoon, the patient killed herself.
"We were basically made scapegoats for the death of a patient. I was on suspension for more than two-and-a-half years while the investigation was carried out. This caused me considerable stress and fear about my future," Mr Wood stated.