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Former medical practice manager wins unfair dismissal case
4:50pm Tuesday 10th September 2013 in News
A MEDICAL practice manager accused of putting 250 vulnerable Inkberrow people at potential risk by cancelling flu vaccinations without authorisation following the takeover of her husband’s surgery has won a compensation claim for unfair dismissal.
But Birmingham Employment Tribunal has decided that Jill Paton of Stonepit Lane, Inkberrow, contributed 100 per cent to her dismissal and has not been awarded compensation for the loss of her job.
She is still due, however, for a basic award and holiday pay totalling several hundred pounds.
The tribunal has suggested that Elgar Healthcare Ltd of Inkberrow, which took over Dr Richard Paton’s surgery should try and reach an agreement with Mrs Paton over how much she should be paid.
Mrs Paton had been told at an earlier hearing by Claire Thompson, representing Elgar Healthcare, that the flu cancellations had caused disruption and great inconvenience to about 250 vulnerable people, as well as the risk factor.
“The new management had wanted to carry out the vaccinations and had not been told they had been cancelled,” said Miss Thompson.
But Mrs Paton had denied an accusation by Miss Thompson that she had “done it to cause mischief,” and replied :”I would not do that – I know 90 per of the patients in the village.”
She had previously worked with her husband, Dr Paton, at the Grey Cable surgery in Inkberrow but following the takeover she lost her job. Her husband has retired.
When Elgar took over the surgery Mrs Paton complained she was put on “gardening leave” and unfairly dismissed.
The respondents opposed Mrs Paton’s compensation claim and accused her of cancelling the 250 vaccinations without authorisation. It caused the new management delays in ordering new vaccine, it was said.
Mrs Paton who had been paid £71,600 a year by her husband for a four-day-week, denied she had done anything wrong and said Elgar would have been able to order the vaccine from elsewhere.
Tribunal judge Barry McGluggage said that relations had worsened between the Patons and the respondent
He said: “While the allegation concerning the cancellation of the flu jabs was the strongest in terms of evidence of misconduct and perhaps possessed the fewest criticisms to be made of the respondent’s approach, I did not consider that the presence of that allegation rendered the overall decision to dismiss fair.”
He also described the repondent’s investigation into the situation as poor.
Mr McGluggage said the claimant had admitted taking confidential staff files and added: “Perhaps the most important point is that in a dispute between a former owner and her actual employer, the claimant put herself in opposition to her employer’s interests.”
Mr McGluggage said Mrs Paton had contributed 100 per cent to her dismissal and because of this she would not be entitled to compensation for the loss of her job even though she was unfairly dismissed.
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