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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Nurse who won big payout from Cumbria hospitals trust sacked again

A senior nurse who won a £115,000 claim for racial discrimination and unfair dismissal against North Cumbria Acute Hospitals has been sacked from another job.

Sarina Saigar photo
Sarina Saigar

Dr Sarina Saiger, who is of mixed race, claimed she was told she was the “wrong colour and culture” for Cumbria.

Her employment tribunal claim in 2008 cost the North Cumbria trust – which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven – £333,000.

Now she is bringing an unfair dismissal claim against General Healthcare Group.

The private firm appointed her as regional director of nursing for the North in December but sacked her barely a fortnight later.

Dr Saiger, 44, says she was made to suffer for blowing the whistle on “unsafe clinical practices” and accusingbosses of putting profits before patients – claims the business strongly denies.

It says she was dismissed because she continually upset colleagues.

Elaine Barlett, regional head of human resources for the company, said it was “unheard of” for someone to cause so much trouble so early on in their employment.

She told a tribunal in Newcastle: “Sarina had only worked for us for two and a half weeks and in that time we had received a huge amount of negative feedback about her.

“She clearly considered herself to be above everybody else and completely disregarded other people’s opinions and decisions.

“By the time of her dismissal, I had no trust and confidence in Sarina and considered her to be a threat to the business.”

Dr Saiger had responsibility for nursing in 17 hospitals. The tribunal heard that she was declared a “loose cannon” within days of starting.

One manager declared that Dr Saiger “would not set foot in his hospital”.

Paul McIntyre, regional director of General Healthcare Group, said he lost “all trust and confidence” in her.

He added: “It is simply not credible to suggest that it would have been possible to neglect patient safety to the degree and in the ways that Sarina has suggested.”

However, it also emerged at the hearing that an executive director had to apologise to Dr Saiger for referring to her in a derogatory way during a meeting with managers.

Dr Saiger, who studied for a first-class degree and PhD while working, claims she was marked out as a “trouble-maker” after managers discovered clippings online about her tribunal in Cumbria. She did not raise the case at her job interview but the General Healthcare Group says it reassured her that it did not affect her role.

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