Manchester trust drops threat to Reissman strike staff

Manchester Community Health Trust has backed down from its threat to report all striking staff to their respective professional bodies for breaching the code of conduct, after talks with Unison last night.

Sheila Foley, chief executive of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, made the threat to staff from community mental health teams and crisis teams, who are striking against the sacking of Unison activist Karen Reissman, at a board meeting yesterday.

Foley had said she had “no alternative” than to report staff to the professional bodies to protect patients’ welfare.

At the meeting, Foley read to the board a letter sent from the Medical Staff Committee who expressed their concerns over the “damaging effect” of the industrial action on patients and carers.

The letter from consultant psychiatrists at the Trust said after three weeks of continuous industrial action, and months of intermittent strike action, staff and managers were finding it “difficult to maintain” services to “ensure patient safety”. 

The Committee urged the Trust to “explore all avenues” to achieve a resolution to the dispute.  
In June, Reissman, a community psychiatric nurse, was suspended for raising concerns over changes to mental health services in Manchester. She was sacked this month for gross misconduct and is appealing against the decision. 

After further talks between the Trust and Unison, the date for Reissman’s disciplinary hearing has been brought forward to Monday 3 December. Foley has agreed to suspend her threat to striking staff until the hearing is concluded.

Steve Stott, regional operational manager for Unison, welcomed the Trust’s decision and said: “The moving forward of the disciplinary appeal provides an opportunity for this dispute to be resolved at an earlier stage than would have otherwise been the case.”

More information


Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust

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