A health campaigner has hit back at the hospital trust which dismissed her for serious misconduct.
Charlotte Monro, chairwoman of Unison’s Waltham Forest health branch, and a moving and handling co-ordinator at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonston, lost an appeal against her dismissal from her role as moving and handling co-ordinator at Whipps Cross University Hospital on Monday.
Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Leytonstone hospital, said it sacked Ms Monro for failing to disclose previous criminal convictions and breaching confidentiality.
But Ms Monro says the trust's comments about her are a “measure of the depth to which they will sink in order to justify their narrow self-interest”.
“The way I have been treated reflects the growing atmosphere of intimidation within our local health trust,” she added.
“This vilification of my character, of the contribution to staff and patient safety I have made over 26 years of work at Whipps Cross and of my commitment to defending our local health services sadly speaks volumes about the nature of those in whose hands the leadership of our health services now lies.”
Ms Monro was formally dismissed for "unauthorised dissemination" of pre-consultation information outside her union role, the trust said.
It is claimed this led to “misinformation, unnecessary confusion and anxiety” among staff.
Barts Health also claims Ms Monro failed to disclose criminal convictions – two of which resulted in prison sentences.
But she says the action against her was initiated for speaking to councillors – a claim subsequently quashed at appeal - and hospital staff in her capacity as union rep about concerns over the hospital.
She says she is adamant she communicated no misinformation and that the trust is causing distress to staff through changes imposed while attempting to save nearly £80million by April.
“The action Barts Health initiated against me and has absolutely been for my trade union activities,” she added.
Ms Monro said she has received support from hundreds of people who wrote letters and signed statements expressing anger and disbelief over the action taken against her.
According to Ms Monro, it was only towards the end of a trust investigation into her that an allegation was made about not declaring criminal convictions from more than 35 years ago.
These were from the 1970s, during encounters with police while campaigning against injustice, she says.
“For the trust to give the impression that I am violent and a risk after 35 years of unblemished record in the NHS is insidious and ridiculous,” she said.
She added that when she began work at Whipps Cross in 1987, criminal record checks (CRB) were not required.
“The first time I was ever required to provide a CRB was this year and I immediately informed the trust of what it was likely to reveal.”
A Barts spokeswoman said: “We would like to stress, categorically, that the reasons for Ms Monro’s dismissal were for personal misconduct and not as a result of her union role.”