A whistleblowing nurse recently brought her employers to an employment tribunal, seeking compensation for her suffering from stress related health problems due to being intimidated into resigning from her position.
The case dates back to when Ms Bernadette Rochford launched a whistleblowing case against the Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG); questioning the means by which NHS funding is sanctioned in regards to patient cases.
Ms Rochford made these claims once learning that no system exits to record the number of patients in receipt of financial help from the NHS. She noted this after she took on the position of Clinical Comm for Southwark PCT in April 2011.
Once Ms Rochford’s concerns came to light it became clear that the NHS was actually caring for some patients without reason. Shockingly this included ongoing financial support for patients who are now deceased. Based on her research Ms Rochford gave a “best guesstimate” that two thirds of deceased patients were still receiving financial aid.
Result of her whistleblowing
After speaking out Ms Rochford states that she became the target of bullying and racial harassment, which made her feel she had no choice but to resign from her position with Southwark CCG following a period of sick leave caused by her experiences.
During her sick leave, Ms Rochford was referred to fifteen separate councillors and health professionals, all of which agreed she was suffering serious stress related illness due to the treatment she experienced.
Ms Rochford’s claims of harassment and racial discrimination were initially dismissed at employment tribunal in October 2014; leading her to apply for a second hearing.
During her tribunal earlier this month, Ms Rochford claimed she felt like she was “walking on eggshells” at work due to the treatment from colleagues, and lambasted the lack of support she received from the NHS while complaining about the level of technical formalities required of her in order to demonstrate her feelings to NHS officials.
Defence against claims
Ms Rochford’s case was disputed by witness Alison Rayman, who worked with Ms Rochford as a HR consultant. Although Ms Rayman concurred that these claims had been slow in getting acknowledged, she believes much of the delay is due to Ms Rochford’s absence when on sick leave, as well as being due to the sheer number of people involved in the case
Ms Rochford’s claim of experiencing harassment and racial discrimination as a result of whisteblowing was rejected at an earlier tribunal in October 2014, causing her to request a second tribunal hearing this year.
Southwark CCG have disputed Ms Rochford’s statement that she received little support, stating that her grievances were “fully investigated at the time” and that “an independent investigation recognised that all issues were being addressed and effective systems were in place.”
This second tribunal in May 2015 lasted for five days and concluded before a decision could be made. The case will be now be reviewed on September 14th 2015.