Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

150k payout for 'bullied' manager at Llanelli hospital

Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli
Nanette Bowen had worked at Prince Philip Hospital for 28 years

A hospital information manager has been awarded £150,000 compensation after claims that she was bullied at work.

Swansea County Court heard that Nanette Bowen, 55, was harassed after a new boss began at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli in 2000, her union said.

It said Mrs Bowen had panic attacks and stress and could no longer work.

The Hywel Dda Local Health Board, which now runs the hospital, said it had reviewed the case and additional training was now given to staff.

Mrs Bowen, from Llanelli, had been employed at Prince Philip for 28 years, working her way up the ranks from a porter to information manager.

Her union Unison said in 2000 she had a new boss when the Llanelli and Dinefwr trusts merged to become Camarthenshire NHS Trust.

The union said sexual innuendos were made towards her and he was regularly aggressive when challenged.

It said that over the next three years her responsibility for hiring staff was removed, she was not allowed to pass on information to staff without his consent and had to fill in a daily form for him to monitor her work.

This is not like winning the lottery, as the money can never make up for my life being ruined
Nanette Bowen

Unison said the harassment caused Mrs Bowen, who was the main breadwinner in the family, stress and panic attacks.

The union said she was signed off sick and, on one occasion, she was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack.

The county court found Carmarthenshire NHS Trust liable last February and the parties involved have now settled on compensation.

Mrs Bowen said: "I am relieved that the case has finished, but this is not like winning the lottery, as the money can never make up for my life being ruined.

"I am still suffering and continue to have counselling to control my panic attacks.

"The NHS was my life, so I have had to leave a job I loved and have been able to go out properly only three times in the past six years.

"The trust failed to support me, but hopefully my case will make other workers more likely to speak out."

Dave Prentis, the Unison general secretary, said: "I am sure that Mrs Bowen would rather have her job and her health.

"The compensation will go some way towards her loss of earnings, but it will never make up for years of suffering and the loss of her old life.

"Workers should be treated with respect, not forced to take time off, or leave their job, because it is making them ill."

The Hywel Dda Local Health Board said it would be inappropriate to comment on the details of the case.

But chief executive Trevor Purt said: "Hywel Dda Health Board does not condone bullying of any kind and policies and procedures are in place to deal with any allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

"Since this case, the former Carmarthenshire NHS Trust, now part of the health board, reviewed systems relating to workplace health and the new organisation has identified additional training requirements to ensure that the issues raised in this type of case are managed appropriately."

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