CAUSE has failed so far to persuade managers in the NHS that suspension is the most devastating action they can take against their staff, causing in some cases, irreparable harm and destroying careers. The managers don’t seem to be able to grasp that suspension is to be taken when the problem is very serious and when all other avenues have been explored.
The blog that has been read the most is about the devastation of suspension. Recently I received a nurse’s reflection on her experience of it. She has given me permission to reproduce it here with some details altered so that she cannot be identified. It was written when she had been recently suspended.
'It has been an absolute roller coaster of emotions, from deep deep sadness to utter despair and it feels like it has been forever.
My life has been turned upside down.
What makes me happy has been taken away from me and I have done nothing wrong. My work which is important to me, defines me - my contact with patients, my rapport with them, my reputation – they’ve all disappeared and I don’t think I will ever get that back.
My family see me in such despair, crying, wandering around the house, unable to do basic jobs. I have always encouraged our children to tell the truth and respect others. How can they respect me now?? This is the hardest thing for me to bear.
I try and put a brave face on but I think they can see through that. I really try and do something every day, but I go to bed tired and wake up tired. There seems to be no respite from these feelings.
I can’t eat and I can’t sleep properly. My dreams are nightmares of not being able to get another job. How am I going to pay the mortgage and bills?
This suspension is supposed to be a neutral act; how can it be when I feel as though I am being punished for something but I have no idea why or what?
What’s happening? Will I get to see the complaints that are supposed to have been made? How can I challenge them if I don’t know what they are or when they were supposed to have been made? What happens now? Will it go to a disciplinary hearing? Will I be sacked? Will I be struck off?
I feel physically sick when I think about my future...... I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel!
I feel so isolated and alone, if it wasn’t for my family I don’t know where I would be. They have been fantastic.
I feel that my career is over, not because it was my choice, but it’s been forced upon me.
I find it so difficult to leave the house for anything. I feel safe here and panic when I know I have to go out. Still need to go to the shops, pay bills, see my doctor. My confidence is rock bottom.
I worry what people must think about me - the old saying "no smoke without fire" comes to mind. I suppose the people who do know me will say this is all rubbish, which it is.
If I go back to work how will I be able to face all these people? How can anyone possibly think I will be able to go back to work in that place. That’s why I believe I will be sacked. I have never been sacked in my life!!!!
My thoughts seem to be on a constant loop, can’t stop thinking then trying to dissect what it all means. I function during the day on auto pilot and can’t see an end to this.
Am I stressed.... yes
Am I depressed .... yes
Am I sad .... yes
It’s as though I am going through a grieving process..
I have worked hard and lived my life to my best ability. If I am sacked I see no other option than having to sell up and leave. That would break my heart but I don’t see any other way. Not only might I lose my right to work in my chosen profession I may have to leave my home.'
So managers out there who won’t be reading this person’s distress but who ought to, plus human resources staff, plus union fulltime officers who sometimes collude with the managers and certainly often fail to show any understanding of the distress and despair suspension causes – WAKE UP ALL OF YOU.
This is supposed to be the National Health Service, not the National Destruction Service.
And readers of this blog who understand this person’s heartrending despair, if you have any way of letting the media know about this, please let me know via www.suspension-nhs.org or feel free to pass it on.
One day, please Lord, these terrible injustices and this terrible suffering will be no more.