Kent

Dartford hospital nurse 'rightly sacked for religious fervour'

Sarah Kuteh Image copyright PA
Image caption Sarah Kuteh said 'no harm could come from telling people about Jesus'

A nurse was rightly dismissed for "imposing" her religious beliefs on patients, an employment tribunal has ruled.

After 15 years of nursing, sister Sarah Kuteh was sacked for gross misconduct in August 2016 because of her "religious fervour" resembling a "Monty Python sketch".

The Kent nurse, with eight complaints against her, said the dismissal was "a hugely disproportionate punishment".

But the tribunal sided with the trust.

The mother of three worked at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, from 2007 and said she had to ask patients about their faith, as part of all pre-operation questionnaires.

After a complaint, she was warned against imposing her own views on patients by the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust.


The complaints:

  • One man said he had a "bizarre experience like Monty Python skit" when Mrs Kuteh held his hand tightly, said an intense prayer over him and asked him to sing Psalm 23. He felt subjected to "religious fervour".
  • A cancer patient about to have major surgery was told by Mrs Kuteh prayer would give him a better chance of survival.
  • Another said she was "preaching at him".

Victoria Leivers-Carruth, director of nursing and quality at the trust, chaired the trust's disciplinary appeal hearing in 2016.

She said Mrs Kuteh failed to follow management instructions and breached the Nursing and Midwifery Code.

Mrs Kuteh launched legal action in December, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, and in a statement at the time, she said: "How could it ever be harmful to tell someone about Jesus?"

But a tribunal in Ashford ruled her unfair dismissal claim was "not well founded", there was no evidence her human rights had been breached and the trust's actions were fair.

A spokesman for the trust said: "This case was never about religion. It related to professional nursing responsibilities, behaviour and conduct in a public-facing role and position of trust."

Image copyright PA
Image caption She worked at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford for nine years

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