Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 10:27 UK

Hospital trust had 'closed ranks'

Cumberland Infirmary
Dr Saiger worked as assistant director of nursing at the Cumberland Infirmary

A report condemning North Cumbria Hospitals Trust for being "self-serving and obstinate" has been released after an employment tribunal.

The judge upheld 16 allegations, relating to racial discrimination Dr Sarina Saiger made against the trust.

His report, which was made public on Tuesday, said that the organisation had "closed ranks".

Carole Heatly, trust chief executive, said "training was in place" to stop discrimination happening again.

The employment tribunal, held last week, agreed with Dr Saiger's claims that she was the victim of race discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair dismissal.

He upheld 16 of the senior nurse's allegations and dismissed 11.

'Race card'

The report said evidence of the former chief executive Marie Burnham, the head of human resources Shirley Chipperfield and Dr Saiger's boss Bruce Skillbeck was "tainted by what appeared to be a clear intention to protect the trust and each other".

Their evidence was described as "less consistent, less accurate and less persuasive".

The report said that Dr Saiger had been racially discriminated against by not allocating her a desk from which to work from for a year when previous white assistant directors of nursing had their own space.

Comments about being the wrong colour and culture for Cumbria and a memo suggesting Dr Saiger would "use the race card" added weight to her accusations.

Dr Saiger had told the tribunal that she had felt "dismay and despair" throughout her time as an assistant director of nursing at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.

Ms Heatly added: "We are now making sure there is quality and fairness for all."

A compensation hearing will be heard at a later date.

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