Tribunal hears NHS boss was supportive

A SENIOR manager at Ipswich Hospital accused of bullying a member of staff has been described as a “supportive and friendly manager” by an ex-colleague.

A SENIOR manager at Ipswich Hospital accused of bullying a member of staff has been described as a “supportive and friendly manager” by an ex-colleague.

Robert Power's former personal assistant, Jo Higgins, told an employment tribunal he was “certainly not a bully” and told how he helped her settle back into work following a stroke.

Ms Higgins, now medical directorate administrator for nursing at Ipswich Hospital, told the hearing in Bury St Edmunds yesterday a colleague who Mr Power was accused of forcing out appeared to be struggling with aspects of her work.

She said Gillian Kemble, 61, from Colchester, also often talked to colleagues about seeking early retirement before she resigned on November 10, 2006, after allegedly being forced from her post.

Mrs Kemble, a former assistant service manager at the hospital, and Sue Gill, a formal personal assistant to Mr Power, are seeking up to £70,000 in compensation for constructive dismissal against Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust over Mr Power's alleged behaviour.

Miss Higgins added while Mrs Kemble was good at her role of looking after medical secretaries, when asked by Mr Power to work on other areas she would become stressed and would ask lots of questions.

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Of Mrs Gill, 47, from Ipswich, known as Ms Brightman at the time, she said: “Ms Brightman was often very blunt and rude to people.” She added that some trainees had told her Ms Brightman had shouted at them and that one had told her they had left the Trust because of Ms Brightman.

The hearing continues.