Karen Reissmann, the nurse sacked after speaking out against the privatisation of mental health services in Manchester, this week presents her case for unfair dismissal to an Employment Tribunal.
Outrage at her sacking led to strikes by more than 800 of her colleagues. They share her view that the transfer of NHS services to outside providers is damaging to patient care and public safety.
Just before Christmas Karen’s arguments were tragically borne out when paranoid schizophrenic Paul Cusack repeatedly stabbed Sidney Waller.
Cusack, whose care had been passed to a “not-for-profit” company called Harp, had missed 18 appointments with his care worker. He also informed them that he had stopped taking his medication and was using crack and heroin.
Karen was dismissed after she was told that her criticisms of privatisation were affecting the reputation of her NHS Trust – and its partner, Harp.
After the fatal stabbing, Manchester Primary Care Trust said, 'We have begun a safety review of the Assertive Outreach Service and a result of our concerns, last week took the decision to transfer the interim management of the service to another provider. This will happen as soon as it is possible to do so safely.”
Last week Karen’s supporters toured London to raise money for her legal defence fund and received hundreds of pounds from those attending Unison local government and health branch meetings.
Karen’s supporters will be gathering to show support for her on the first day of the Employment Tribunal. Meet on Monday 26 January, 8.15am, at the junction of Bridge St and St Mary’s Rd, Manchester.