Sunderland hospital porter claims unfair dismissal

Sunderland Royal Hospital
Sunderland Royal Hospital
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A FORMER porter is taking action for unfair dismissal against Sunderland Royal Hospital, amid claims he was expected to change oxygen cylinders on incubators and beds, despite having no training.

The ex-employee alleges he was asked to transport and change medical gases at the hospital, even though he had received no set instruction about how to do it.

The man, who asked not to be named, claims that despite asking on a number of occasions, his request for training was ignored, leaving him anxious he would make a mistake.

The 46-year-old said: “My biggest fear was changing them in the neonatal department. I was a porter, I wasn’t God.

“I had parents watching me as I was changing the oxygen on their baby’s incubator, not knowing I’d received no proper training in what I was doing.

“I would go home from work and be lying in my bed wondering if I’d changed the bottles properly.”

The worker was employed at the hospital between 2009 and last December.

In May 2011, he lodged a grievance with his bosses in which he expressed concerns, including the lack of training porters had in relation to changing gases.

Although the hospital did not uphold the grievance as a whole, they did uphold the element relating to the medical gases training.

In a letter to him, it was stated: “The panel believes no porters should have been requested to partake in these duties if they were not completely trained, and therefore this element of your grievance is upheld.”

The man, who was dismissed from his role at the end of last year after he felt unable to continue his job, went to see employment agency Acas where he was told he could submit a claim for unfair dismissal.

He told the Echo: “I believe people should know about the lack of training.

“They say they have procedures in place now, but that doesn’t count for the past.”

City Hospitals Sunderland said that in light of the pending case of unfair dismissal, they were unable to comment directly about the claims.

A spokesman added: “However, we can confirm that on-the-job training and awareness have always been undertaken to allow porters to collect empty bottles and deliver replacement bottles.

“Revised requirements for training were introduced last year, which have been implemented by the trust.”