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Bullied NHS information manager gets £150,000

Tony Collins

A bullied NHS information manager who suffered a nervous breakdown has been awarded £150,000 in compensation.

Nanette Bowen, 55, from Llanelli, has been unable to return to work after being bullied and harassed over a three-year-period.

Unison, the UK's largest public sector union, helped Bowen, who worked at the Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, take action against her employer.

The Llanelli Hospital Trust has been found negligent in allowing the long-term harassment to take place.

Bowen was responsible for reporting on hospital waiting lists and providing information to assist with budgetary decisions. She had worked there for more than 28 years.

She worked her way up the ranks, from porter to information manager, reporting directly to the chief executive of the Trust.

The union said that over three years Bowen's life became hell, as she was not allowed to provide any information without her bosses' written consent. She was asked to fill in a form daily, so her boss could see what work she was doing. She had her responsibility to hire staff removed.

Unison said that Bowen's boss was aggressive towards her, made sexual innuendos and banned her from attending important meetings vital to her job.

She was signed off sick with stress and, on occasions when she tried to return to work, she suffered panic attacks.

At one point she was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack.

Unison took her claim to Swansea County Court, where Carmarthenshire NHS Trust was found liable.

Bowen said: "The NHS was my life. I had always felt great loyalty to the Trust and worked to the best of my ability in everything I did. I feel bitterly let down by the Trust, which did not do its best to support me when I needed it most..Without the support of my family and colleagues I would not be here now."

Dave Galligan, Unison's Head of Health in Wales, said: "It is disgraceful that this bullying and harassment continued for so long and led to a severe breakdown...Despite her complaints, nothing was done to improve her situation. As a result Mrs Bowen has suffered terribly and the NHS has lost a skilled and dedicated worker.

"This case is a warning to employers that they need to listen to their employees' concerns and act sooner rather than later, or face the consequences."

Amanda Jones of Thompson's Solicitors added: "Work related stress cases, particularly those involving bullying and harassment are very difficult to prove." I am very happy for Mrs Bowen that after a long fought legal battle she has had the outcome she deserves.

The Hywel Dda Local Health Board said it would be inappropriate to comment on the details of the case.

Chief Executive Trevor Purt said: "Hywel Dda Health Board does not condone bullying of any kind and policies and procedures are in place to deal with any allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

"Since this case, the former Carmarthenshire NHS Trust, now part of the health board, reviewed systems relating to workplace health and the new organisation has identified additional training requirements to ensure that the issues raised in this type of case are managed appropriately."


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