Karen Reissmann, a nurse for 25 years and an elected member of Unison’s national health executive, was suspended from work last Friday, 15 June. That afternoon, an important outpatient appointment with a very vulnerable patient was interrupted and – on the direct orders of the chief executive – she was instructed to leave the out-patient consultation and the hospital.
A leaflet put out by her union branch says:
“The charges – of bringing the Trust into disrepute; behaving in a manner such that they no longer have confidence in her as an employee; and an allegation that Karen misused work time – are directly linked to her actions as a trades unionist and Unison officer fighting to defend the NHS over the last year.
“Karen and her union branch have been at the forefront of fighting cuts and the outsourcing of mental health services in Manchester. They had a successful two day strike earlier this year. Karen has often been interviewed speaking out against the government’s policy of cuts and fragmentation for the NHS and the effects this has on services.
“It is not Karen who has brought her Trust into disrepute, but those who run our NHS nationally and locally. It is these people who have wasted all the extra money on PFI (Private Finance Initiative) not patient care and they who are determined to sell off our services so that NHS is in danger of becoming merely a logo.
“Gordon Brown has made it clear that NHS cuts will continue once he becomes prime minister. Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust are in official “turnaround” and (despite the £161 million under-spend in the North West last year) “have” to save £3 million this year. This can only be done by making savage cuts. They know Unison will oppose these cuts.
“If they are allowed to sack Karen, they hope to leave NHS staff too frightened to speak up and thus have a clear run to implement their cuts. This cannot be allowed.”
What can you do?
- Send an email protesting to Shelia Foley, Chief executive of Karen’s trust on Sheila.email@example.com and copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sign the petition in support of Karen and send to above address.
- Join the lobby of the Trust Board meeting on Thursday 21st June, 9am – 10am at Chorlton House at above address.
- If you are a Unison member in the Trust, vote yes in the ballot for strike action.