Nurse at centre of Manchester strike faces disciplinary

Karen Reissmann, a community psychiatric nurse allegedly suspended for trade union activity, faces a disciplinary hearing this month to decide her future, following three strikes in support of her.

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust this week told Reissmann, who has been suspended for three months, that her future employment would be decided at a hearing on 15 October.

Reissmann, chair of the trust’s Unison branch, alleges she has been suspended about speaking out over the restructuring of community mental health services in the city.

The union has held three strikes, totalling eight days, over the past month in support of Reissmann. She said no decision had been taken on further action, but that it was likely a fourth strike would be called to coincide with the 15 October hearing.

She said she did not know how the hearing would go, but added: “I don’t have any confidence in the trust at the moment. I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong.”

Reissmann accused the trust of not engaging meaningfully with Unison’s concerns over the implementation of its wholesale restructure of community services, involving the creation of new assertive outreach, early intervention and crisis resolution teams.

Reissmann claimed that staff were overloaded in mainstream community mental health services and that half of service users had new care managers.

However, a trust spokesperson said it had consulted extensively with staff over the implementation of the restructure and continued to do so. He said additional staff, brought in temporarily to help implement the new structure, had their contracts extended, and the safe transfer of people to new care managers was a “major priority”.

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