Linda Mitchell, a 59 hospital worker who sustained injury in her neck and shoulders when pulling curtains around a patient’s bed at Belford Hospital, Fort William, has been awarded £50,000 in compensation. This compensation was provided following the accident which had subsequently rendered her unable to return to employment for the past four years. Ms Mitchell has stated that her injury was avoidable and would not have occurred if the hospital had acted on previous complaints made by herself and her fellow colleagues.
The health board of the hospital did not accept liability and claimed that no defects were present when they inspected the curtains. Nevertheless, the health board offered Ms Mitchell £25,000 compensation after the incident. However, this was rejected and then doubled following civil action. After her compensation was awarded, Ms Mitchell had this to say on the matter –
‘My case was dealt with quickly and easily and I was very happy with the outcome. If previous complaints about the faulty curtains hadn’t been ignored my accident could have been avoided.’
Ms Mitchell was busy at work in Belhaven Ward, ward two of the hospital when her accident from pulling the curtains occurred. The curtains were obstructed by a table with a television on top of it, so it was necessary for her to lean across it to pull the curtains. Unfortunately, her neck and shoulders were wrenched when the heavy-lined curtains jammed.
A spokeswoman for Ms Mitchell’s law firm said –
‘A number of her colleagues have confirmed that there were problems with the curtains prior to Linda’s accident. A staff nurse had advised that she had previously complained about the difficulty with the curtains and another nurse who advised that she had reported problems with the curtains.’
Mary Scanlon, Highland and Islands MSP said:
‘I hope it will be a lesson to NHS Highland to pay closer attention to complaints and health and safety issues.’