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Sacked nurse claimed doctor 'bullied' her

A SWEDISH nurse who claimed she was bullied and assaulted by a senior doctor was sacked for complaining to her bosses, a tribunal has heard.

A SWEDISH nurse who claimed she was bullied and assaulted by a senior doctor was sacked for complaining to her bosses, a tribunal has heard.

Ingrid Petterson was working as a bank staff nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital when she claims she was unfairly dismissed.

She alleges she was subjected to "ongoing bullying" by consultant urologist, Christopher Powell.

In one incident, she told the Liverpool tribunal: "I met Mr Powell in a corridor and he glared at me and mouthed 'f*** you'."

Another time, Mrs Petterson said the surgeon hit her in the theatre corridor and said she would "burn in hell".

Mrs Petterson complained about the assault to the hospital's human resources department.

But because there was no evidence she was told nothing could be done.

She came to England with her family in 1996 and started working in the hospital's recovery unit in March, 1999.

She said the problems at work coincided with an on-going feud between Mr Powell and her husband, Bo - a fellow urologist at the hospital.

She said: "At the time, Mr Powell was raising allegations of clinical incompetence against my husband."

Mrs Petterson claims her complaints about Mr Powell were repeatedly ignored. She said: "I was summoned to a meeting and told they could not prove anything about my complaint.

"They also said there was no evidence to corroborate the earlier incidents."

Her complaints were eventually heard by the hospital's chief executive but were dismissed through lack of evidence.

She was threatened with disciplinary action and summoned to see hospital bosses. She said she would be consulting solicitors and two days later Mrs Petterson was sacked.

Mrs Petterson claims the hospital dismissed her either because she was Swedish or because she was married to a consultant.

She also claims the hospital treated her unfairly in not giving her the same treatment as a fulltime employee.

But the Trust claims Mrs Petterson made the allegations against Mr Powell because of rivalry between him and her husband.

He denied the assault against Mrs Petterson and other allegations but admitted there was tension-between him and Bo Petterson. Mr Powell said: "There were problems in the urology department.

"But I would not treat Mrs Petterson in any way which could lead to a complaint. All I can say is I did not assault her."

Mrs Petterson's solicitor, Ed Morgan, said: "A negative view of the applicant's complaints was taken because of her marriage to Mr Petterson."

He told how the hospital had heard other allegations about Mr Powell from nurses in the department and, despite no formal complaints, these had been investigated - ahead of Mrs Petterson's complaint.

But Paul Spencer, representing the hospital, said the delay in dealing with Mrs Petterson's complaints could have actually benefited her.

Mr Powell was already on a final written warning and if the allegations were proved accurate the likely result would have been his dismissal.

Mr Spencer said: "The reason for dismissal was her conduct. An investigation was held and it was decided she had made false allegations."

The tribunal reserved its decision.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
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