Little was done to support her at this time
Denise Regan, an administrator at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, worked for the Trust for just over three years before concerns were first identified with her performance.
In early January 2016 Regan was informed she might have cataracts and she told her employer of this.
Little was done to support her at this time.
Regan was however invited to a capability meeting to discuss a number of concerns around “attention to detail and inaccuracy of information” including sending a confidential report to the wrong patient, considered a serious breach of procedure.
The outcome of the capability meeting was a performance improvement plan and weekly review meetings to monitor performance.
A final review was set for 4 April 2016 giving a three month improvement timescale.
Regan was also told that should she not improve then further formal action may be necessary and this could ultimately result in her dismissal.
Regan was formally diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes on 23 February 2016.
The next day, she informed her employer about this diagnosis and said she believed her visual impairment was the cause of her errors.
An occupational health referral was made which supported that Regan was temporarily visually impaired and needed support, pending her operation, which would rectify her cataracts.
Nevertheless, the capability process continued as Regan continued to make errors.
At the final capability review meeting, Regan presented mitigation that the OH report was “inadequate” and the capability process “could have been put on hold” whilst she waited for her surgery.
Regan was redeployed to another job role but was subsequently dismissed on 1 August 2016.
The tribunal determined that despite knowing about her visual impairment and its likely effects, the Trust insisted on unrealistic improvements and didn’t address what support or adjustments could be made for Regan.
They should have obtained clearer medical advice on reasonable adjustments and addressed what support Regan could have been offered, including whether the performance improvement process should be relaxed or even suspended whilst she waited for her operation.
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