Hospital worker set for £60,000 payout after raising 'bullying' concerns

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant

A long-serving hospital worker who lost his job after raising concerns about bullying is to receive a £60,000 payout. 

John Truscott spent almost 30 years working for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, having started there in 1988, but an employment tribunal has ruled he was unfairly dismissed in 2018.

Now, after the hospital admitted to shortcomings in his disciplinary proceedings, a tribunal judge has ordered it pay Mr Truscott almost £60,000 in compensation and damages. Of this, £44,000 relates to his unfair dismissal, with £15,000 to compensate for "injury to his feelings".

Mr Truscott's issues began in 2013, the tribunal heard, when Mr he failed a number of students from the University of East Anglia, while acting as a tutor and assessor for the university's operating department practice course.

The university lodged a complaint against him after he failed six out of seven students he assessed. The UEA overturned his results in three cases, passing students he had failed.

But was not until months later that Mr Truscott learned of the complaint - resulting in him raising a grievance with the hospital over how the issue had been handled.

In the years that followed Mr Truscott raised a number of other complaints against hospital leadership, including in 2017 when he accused the hospital of "appalling bullying behaviour" over requiring staff take the flu jab.

At the time of the dispute, the hospital was under different leadership. In 2015, the Care Quality Commission raised concerns over "a bullying culture" - something Mr Truscott said he experienced.

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Throughout this period, Mr Truscott was suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, for which he was receiving support.

And Judge Robin Postle, who oversaw the tribunal process, alleged that the hospital had made a decision over Mr Truscott's future before his disciplinary hearing was held.

He wrote: "It would appear to the tribunal there was some form of hatchet job that dismissal was inevitable and to be wrapped up in a breakdown of relationships when the claimant's behaviour had not been questioned or dealt with on a formal basis in the past".

An NNUH spokesman said: "We accept that there were shortcomings in the handling of Mr Truscott’s disciplinary proceedings.

"Our trust has made huge strides in improving our culture over the last five years and we have clear values in place for all staff.

"We have been providing development support for managers to promote the best relationships within and between teams and we have a full-time Freedom to Speak Up Guardian in addition to staff speak up champions and guardians across our Trust.”