Thursday, April 27, 2006

Normansfield Strike - 4th May 1976

Nurses often faced petty and tyrannical rule by maverick Matron's and Doctor's, often the threat of union action led to improvements, however at Normansfield Hospital, a hospital for the mentally handicapped in Kingston, South London.

Nurses and patients were faced with a very dictatorial regime of the Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Lawlor. When all other methods of bringing problems to management's notice had failed, Nursing members of COHSE, led by Vic Palmer local COHSE steward, walked out on strike.
By 2:30 Dr Lawlor, the consultant psychiatrist was suspended.

While COHSE was attacked at the time for supporting the action of the nurses, the subsequent public enquiry showed an appalling quality of life of the patients and a failure of senior medical, nursing and administrative staff to co-operate with each other.

It was not until the 1990's when the Chief Executive of the UKCC stated "that had she been a nurse at Normansfield during that period, given that all other avenues had been tried, she would have joined the strike in the interest of patient care"