Nurse sacked over press interview loses appeal

A nurse who was sacked for talking to the press has lost her appeal against her dismissal but has vowed to continue fighting her case.

Karen Reissman, who worked as a senior mental health nurse for Manchester Mental Health Care Trust, was told yesterday that her dismissal on 5 November this year for gross misconduct was justified.

Reissman, a representative for the Unison trade union, was fired for giving an interview to small business community magazine Internal Enterprise, during whcih she criticised the trust’s plans to outsource some nursing roles to voluntary sector groups.

She will now face an employment tribunal and plans to take her fight to the European Court of Human Rights and make her case under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression.

Reissman told Press Gazette: ‘I’m not prepared to give this up. Particularly as this is my name – I have been a nurse for 25 years. What I have ‘done wrong’ is standing up for patients and for services. I plead guilty to that.

‘For journalists, it is difficult to get health workers to speak on the record. It is hard for them to write the story if it is just off the record and it’s hard for their editor to print it.”

Since Reissman was sacked, more than 150 of her nursing colleagues have been on indefinite strike and have staged a series of protests.

A benefit comedy gig is taking place at Manchester’s Comedy Store next Tuesday featuring comedians Mark Thomas and Mark Steele to help fund her campaign.

A spokesman for Manchester Mental Health Trust said: “The Trust can confirm that after an appeal hearing the decision to dismiss Ms Reissmann has been upheld. The hearing was carried out in a professional and impartial manner in accordance with the Trust disciplinary processes. As this is a private employment matter the Trust will not be commenting further.”

Wyn Dignan, the trust’s chair, said: ‘The trust board now intends to move on and focus on delivering safe high quality mental health services for the people of Manchester. We appeal to those who are presently out on strike to return to work.”

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