THE trust which runs Furness General Hospital spent £20,000 trying to stifle an employee and stop her from launching employment tribunal proceedings.

Radiographer Sue Allison appeared at an Employment Tribunal in April where bosses from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust applied for her case to be dismissed on the grounds she had signed an agreement in 2015 which prevented her from bringing future claims against the trust amid allegations she was bullied by colleagues.

The employment judge ruled in her favour and paved the way for a full tribunal next Spring.

The trust has now revealed, following a Freedom of Information Act request, it has so far spent £20,333.23 on legal costs fighting Mrs Allison's case.

The trust's chief executive Aaron Cummins said: “Ms Allison acknowledged at the Employment Tribunal in April that the agreement did not in any way stop her raising patient safety concerns and she has always been free to speak out about any issues of patient safety or care that concerned her.

“It remains a source of regret for the trust that this was a matter that we were unable to resolve with Mrs Allison and that it has resulted in legal proceedings.

“The Trust is a large organisation with nearly 7,000 valued employees. It is really important to the leadership of the trust that we provide great patient care and that our colleagues are happy, fulfilled and supported at work. We work very hard to resolve any difficulties internally – but sadly, very occasionally we are not able to do that.

“Ms Allison remains an important member of the Team, and we are working with her to assist her to return to work once she is ready.”