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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor Advocate
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm with 20+ years legal experience
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Dear solicitor, I am a senior mental health nurse and have

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Dear solicitor,
I am a senior mental health nurse and have been suspended for inadvertently hitting a patient in her face after she had slapped me hard across the face and I put my hand up to defend myself.
I have an investigation meeting coming up, to decide whether this will be taken to disciplinary. On the morning of the day the incident happened I had secured a different job so gave my notice in (when I was told I was suspended).
I have 8 weeks resignation period of which 5 weeks remain. I have 2 weeks annual leave to take which I am owed.
I would like to know if it is taken to a disciplinary meeting, wherein I would possibly get dismissed, where do I stand if I walk away from the job/do not attend the meeting/or cause it to be delayed until beyond my resignation period, would they be able to sack me? Granted, this would be indicated on their references.
I am frightened of eventually getting my nursing qualification and right to practice taken from me should I be sacked and the NMC decide to disqualify me.
Thanks for your advice.
My name isXXXXX and I'm happy to help with your question today.

You can resign and leave before a disciplinary hearing takes place and thus avoid the possibility of being dismissed.

However, this will not stop your employer reporting the matter to the NMC. Your regulator can take action regardless of where you are or who your new employer might be.

If you have not done so already you should make a statement about the incident, get support from any witnesses who may have been present and look at obtaining character references. In other words you should prepare your defence in case a) you attend a disciplinary hearing and/or b) a meeting with your regulator.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Alex


Thanks for your advice.


I have made a statement and have got good character references from a previous suspension (accused of having poor professional boundaries in that I did a social work job instead of referring it on to social work team. I was vindicated for this and later that same year, 2013, put a grievance in against management for unfair treatment about another matter, which I won in December).


During this grievance I asked to be moved from the ward as it is such a stressful place to work (I had 3 months off for work-related stress last year) and because it doesn't suit my temperament (I have worked in the community for years).



For 6 weeks since this time I was not moved from the ward and it is where the incident took place (following 2 arguments with 2 different staff members complaining about me). I think this can be part of my defence.


I am unable to seek support from any witnesses as management forbid me from making contact with anyone from work or stepping onto the hospital grounds.


I described the previous incident/suspension because I was wondering if there are any grounds for suggesting management have a vendetta against me since my grievance? Or maybe I am being paranoid!

This probably all makes me sound like a nutter but I sort of feel I have been changed into one from all the pressures the ward has put me under.

Any ideas?

I've noted the history but what else would you like to know?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi again Alex

Sorry I was just putting you in the picture before. Due to the fact the management wrote to me the date of the meeting (Monday 3rd March) on Thursday but declined to write the time on the letter, I have been unable to secure a unison rep to support me.

1)Is it reasonable to ask them to delay the meeting for this reason? Or should I attend alone?

2)I have asked them by email today to delay the meeting and if a disciplinary doesn't happen for several weeks and its beyond my finishing date, management cannot delay my leaving can they?

I have also considered being signed off sick for the stress this is causing. According to what you said this could be acceptable but may end up with the Trust informing the regulator should they decide its a dismissible action.

3)I suppose though it is better to defend oneself and at least try to be excused?

4)Do you think the delay of moving me onto a different position in the trust makes my defence stronger and is worth challenging in the meeting?

I intend to inform my new employers of the situation asap once I know the outcome.

I think that is all!



Hi Helen

1. It is reasonable to ask your employer to postpone the meeting for a rep to accompany you. By law you are entitled to be accompanied by a union rep to such a meeting.

2. Your employer cannot stop you leaving once you have tendered your resignation and agreed a last working day.

3. Yes. Your reputation is fundamental for future employment.

4. Yes. This is entirely valid.

Happy to discuss the issues further.

Alice H and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you