A BAN on a paramedic who raised safety concerns about the standard of care in A&E departments has been dropped after hospital bosses admitted they had no power to impose it.
Stuart Gardner was told he was no longer allowed on sites run by Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust after singling out the Worcestershire Royal for criticism in a television interview. He claimed patients were being treated in corridors with staff carrying out procedures including fitting ECG pads, stitching and inserting cannulas while the practise had become so common the Trust had markings on the wall to identify who patients were.
The ban led to threats of legal action by UNISON while the Trust originally defended their decision saying Mr Gardner had upset hard working, under pressure A&E staff and that needed to be addressed.
But the Trust has now agreed with the union they did not have the authority to ban the paramedic from its premises and an apology has been issued for suggesting he should be.
A joint statement between UNISON and WAHT said they were pleased the matter had been amicably resolved.
“A&E departments in Worcestershire, in common with the rest of the country, are experiencing high levels of demand and rely on all health partners working together to care for patients. UNISON and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust are committed to providing high standards of care for all patients.”
Mr Gardner had previously warned Stewart Messer, the Trust’s chief operating officer, of his intention to raise his concerns through whistle blowing and was told to ‘go ahead and do it’. However in email exchanges which followed with West Midlands Ambulance Trust Mr Messer is alleged to have warned action would be taken if Mr Gardner was critical of management or emergency department staff and he would not be welcome on their sites.
Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary, added: “I am pleased to see the Trust accepts they made a mistake in excluding our rep Stuart from their site.
“I am incredibly proud of Stuart Gardner for the professional way he has conducted himself. He did the right thing by trying raise his concerns privately, but when he was rebuffed he felt he had no alternative but to whistle blow. He showed courage by whistle blowing and he did it in a dignified way. And he’s shown determination to get through this despite the victimisation he has received. He is a credit to UNISON, West Midlands Ambulance Service and himself.
“We know front-line NHS staff are working flat out in difficult conditions and UNISON now look forward to working in partnership with the Trust management to address the issues in A & E.”