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Epsom & St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust v Starling

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The case ‘Epsom & St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust v Starling’ and the decision that was reached by the EAT has shown the importance of disciplinary procedures being followed to every minor detail, as well as showing that there needs to be proper and reasonable causes for a departure.

What happened?

In this incident, nurse ‘S’ was requested to turn the incubators on in preparation for a patient’s treatment that was going to take place the following day. She was unable to do so, as she felt unwell and so she had to go to the Accident & Emergency department. She called the doctor when she realised the mistake to let him know. 

The mistake could have had dire consequences, as it could have caused issues with regards to the patient’s procedure. Thankfully, though, treatment was arranged somewhere else.

The doctor issued an improvement notice. However, before such a notice can be issued, there must be an informal meeting with the employee, as per the Trust’s policy. No meeting was arranged or issued.

Alongside the ET, the EAT determined that if there has been such a meeting, the doctor would have had full information about what had happened.

He would have been in a position to use the facts to make a decision.

In the end, nurse S resigned because of the conduct of the Trust.

It was deemed a constructive dismissal because there has been a breach of the implied term of confidence and trust.

About The Author.

James Rowland

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners. He is responsible for all Account Management, Sales & Marketing within the company. Having gained a BSc in Psychology and further study for his post-grad Law degree, James embarked on his legal career in 2014. Since then, he has become an Associate Director at a national Employment Law boutique, studied for a Masters in Marketing, and as of 2018, been a Director at Neathouse Partners. Outside of the office, James is a keen cricketer, playing very badly (he calls himself a Batsman but averages single figures) in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves watching his childhood football team, Crewe Alexandra, and is an avid lover of cinema (his favourite film being Pulp Fiction). Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.


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