Nurse rep spoken to for raising concerns

A UNION official at Ipswich Hospital has been spoken to by hospital bosses after she revealed that intense pressures had left nurses in tears.

A UNION official at Ipswich Hospital has been spoken to by hospital bosses after she revealed that intense pressures had left nurses in tears.

Pauline Entwistle, a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) representative, spoke out at the hospital's board meeting earlier this month.

At the time she said: “Nurses feel that they can't deliver the care that patients should receive. We have had staff in tears about it.”

Following the meeting, hospital bosses spoke to the RCN and Ms Entwistle, leaving the long-time union member even more distressed.

The hospital said she was not told off for voicing her opinion.

But the RCN said it was worried about any suggestion that officials would be criticised for speaking out.

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The disagreement came after the Heath Road hospital was widely criticised for leaving patients waiting too long for operations, cancelling surgery and moving people in the middle of the night.

Mike Kavanagh, regional officer for the RCN, said: “Any trade union representative should be able to speak out. Any representative has the right to speak at a board meeting.

“She hasn't been disciplined but she was spoken to. I think there was an expression of disappointment that she didn't go to her managers first but I don't think she did anything wrong.

“One of the reasons we try to be as supportive as we can is that it is a voluntary job. Most stewards do a lot of work in their own time, and employers need to be as sympathetic as possible to the needs and responsibilities of the trade union reps.

“Clearly she was upset by it. It is not easy to raise concerns.”

Mr Kavanagh said the RCN was still in discussions with Ipswich Hospital about the matter.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “We have no knowledge of any member of staff who has been reprimanded for making comments at a public board meeting.”

Was Ms Entwistle right for speaking out? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.