East of England Ambulance Service to pay sacked worker £96,000

Gordon Flemming
Image caption Gordon Flemming worked as a motor vehicle technician with the ambulance service

An ambulance worker who suffered mental health problems at work has been awarded more than £96,000 by a judge.

Mechanic Gordon Flemming, from Norwich, won a case of unfair dismissal against the East of England Ambulance Service.

The tribunal panel said it was "appalled" at some of the behaviour towards Mr Flemming, who recorded one boss talking about "pummelling" him.

The ambulance service said it had apologised to Mr Flemming and had remedied issues found by the tribunal.

Mr Flemming was awarded £92,214 for injury to feelings arising from disability discrimination, psychiatric injury caused by discrimination and loss of earnings.

He will receive a further £4,275 for unfair dismissal.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Flemming started working for the East of England Ambulance Service in 2009

The tribunal heard how Mr Flemming had contemplated suicide after being deemed unable to return to work following a heart attack.

He was later told by doctors he could have a phased return to work, but he never did as he was dismissed for a number of reasons - including missing meetings - after disciplinary proceedings.

During the meetings leading up his dismissal he secretly recorded discussions by the panel including deputy director Robert Ashford who made a comment about "pummelling" him.

Yasmin Rafiq, interim director of people and culture at the East if England Service NHS Trust, said: "East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust would like to apologise for its former conduct towards Mr Flemming.

"The findings outlined in the tribunal judgement are now being remedied and our commitment is to provide a respectful working environment, enabling employees to be committed to providing quality of care to our patients.

"We are pleased that we were subsequently able to work with Mr Flemming to avoid a further lengthy and stressful hearing for him."

Speaking after the tribunal findings were published in January, Mr Flemming told the BBC the ambulance service was "there to save lives, not destroy them - but that is what they did to me".

Mr Flemming has been approached to comment on the judgement.

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