health workers strike over suspension of union member
by Angela Hussain
About 700 mental health workers
are on strike in Manchester in protest at the suspension of a shop
The three-day walkout which started yesterday has led to some psychiatric
patients being moved to centres up to 100 miles away. Others have
been sent home.
Unison said it was shocked at
the move but Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust said
it had no alternative.
Reissman, a community psychiatric nurse at Manchester Mental Health
and Social Care Trust, was suspended eight weeks ago after the trust
alleged she had brought it into disrepute by her criticism of government
policies and local health cuts. Reissman is a member of Unison’s
national health executive and chair of her branch..
had launched a ballot on July 25, arguing Reissman had been “gagged”
by the trust.
believe attempts to discipline Karen are an attempt to prevent her
from speaking out and to intimidate other stewards from opposing
and speaking out against cuts in service,” a Unison spokesperson
union claims 60 psychiatric patients at North Manchester General
Hospital have been moved to private facilities.
Although it did not give exact
figures, the trust said patients were moved to Alpha Care in Bury
and to Affinity Health Care in Darlington.
Sandra Corrigan, one of the nurses
on strike, told journalists: "None of them were happy about
going, some of them were shouting and screaming out of the taxi
windows as they were driven away."
trust said those patients that had been moved were settling in well,
while 32 were clinically assessed to be fit enough to go home for
a short period of leave.
Despite the industrial action,
about half of the trust's staff reported for work yesterday and
14 out of 17 wards remain operational.
Chief Executive Sheila Foley said care and safety of patients was
the trust's priority.
"During our visits around
the trust today, we observed that patients were being well cared
for and are extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication
of staff under challenging circumstances," she told the BBC.
"We will continue to monitor
the situation and respond and change arrangements if necessary."
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