Assaulted at Work
A nurse has received £195,000 in compensation more than seven years after he was badly injured by a patient at North Tyneside Hospital.
The nurse’s trade union UNISON said the settlement followed a lengthy fight to get the hospital to live up to its responsibilities.
The UNISON member suffered a frozen shoulder and psychological trauma after an incident in October 2003 when a patient became violent as the nurse attempted to clean him.
Restraint training requested
Staff had asked for training in restraining patients since 1996 but had never received any.
Despite suffering from pain the member continued to work for the hospital until shoulder surgery was unavoidable in 2006.
The operation left the nurse with limited movement in his arm and when the hospital announced plans to move him to a different ward, where he would need to use his shoulder more, he was forced to sign off sick.
Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation
After the accident he contacted UNISON for advice.The trade union instructed its lawyers Thompsons to pursue a claim for compensation.
North Tyneside Hospital refused to accept liability for the member’s accident and Thompsons pursued the case to court. In 2008 a judge said the hospital should have provided training in restraint and control techniques for its staff but the judgment on compensation was not until January 2011.
Just four days before the damages hearing in January 2011 the hospital settled the case.
Injured man had to retire after incident
The 49-year-old has now taken ill-health retirement and must take strong painkillers to help the pain in his shoulder.
He said: “I am relieved that this case has come to an end and that my employers have finally paid me damages. I’m unable to work due to the constant pain I am in and this money will help me live some kind of life.
“I’m indebted to UNISON and Thompsons for supporting me until the bitter end. Without their help I would have given up years ago.”
Hospital completely disregarded its employee’s needs
A spokesperson from UNISON said: “North Tyneside Hospital multiplied our member’s stress and worry many fold for several years because it first refused to admit its mistakes and then dragged the payment out to the very last hour. Time, psychological distress and significant legal costs could have been saved if the hospital had owned up back in 2006.”
Hazel Webb from Thompsons Solicitors added: “We had no choice but to take North Tyneside Hospital to court because it refused to accept responsibility. Even after the court condemned its work practices it still waited another two years before settling the claim.
“By its actions the hospital completely disregarded its employee’s needs and prolonged the inevitable.”
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