Social worker claims damages after suffering mental collapse

A social worker who claims she became so stressed by her
100-hour-a-week caseload she suffered a mental collapse, has begun
a high court bid for damages, writes Derren

Maureen Pratley, of Honiton in Devon, says her work for Surrey
council between 1994 and 1998 became so overwhelming she
contemplated suicide.

Her barrister Brian Langston told Mr Justice Buckley that
49-year-old Ms Pratley’s workload shot up from 75 to 150 cases at
any one time after she was promoted to case manager for older
people in the Leatherhead area in November 1994.

Soon Pratley was working from 8am to 10pm every day, taking work
home with her to complete in the evenings and at weekends, Langston
told the court in London.

In October 1996 she was signed off sick suffering from
depression and ended up receiving treatment in west London’s Priory
Clinic. When she finally sought retirement on the grounds of ill
health, she was refused, dismissed from her job in May 1998, and
has not worked since.

The council maintains that Pratley was fit to return to work and
say they have done nothing wrong.




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