“Very good” mental health nurse sacked after talking to media

A “very good” mental health nurse who spoke out against NHS policy has been sacked after talking to the media.

Karen Reissmann, a community psychiatric nurse at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, was found guilty of gross misconduct last week after a six-day disciplinary hearing.

Ms Reissmann was initially suspended 20 weeks ago after the trust alleged she had brought it into disrepute by her public criticism of local health policies..

Ms Reissmann is a member of Unison’s national health executive and chair of her branch.

Ms Reissmann, who has led a series of protests against changes at the trust, was accused of “seriously adversely affecting the reputation of the trust” by speaking to the media, including her local paper, the Manchester Evening News (MEN)

Trust bosses say they followed their disciplinary procedures, according to the MEN.

Ms Reissmann, 41, who has worked in Manchester for 25 years, told the MEN: “I can’t believe this is happening in 2007 under a Labour government – the day when staff can no longer stand up for services, for staff and for patient care is a very sad day.”

Joel Rickman, from the Manchester mental health patients’ forum, told the MEN: “It is very sad. Many patients support Karen because she is a very good nurse, but patients have already been shipped to Darlington during a previous strike, disturbing their care, and we need this resolved before patients suffer any more.”

Sheila Foley, chief executive of the trust said: “All the way through this, we have followed the correct processes. I have listened to all the evidence for six days and I have weighed up that evidence and made my decision.

“I do believe this is the right decision in the best interest of the trust and the patients we care for. Dismissal is not a decision taken lightly, is very rare and only taken when there are very serious concerns.”

Unison said it intends to appeal the decision

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