A SCARBOROUGH hospital worker is demanding damages of £200,000 from the NHS Trust due to alleged work-related injuries.
Ultrasonographer Julia Graham, 57, of Foresters Court, Scarborough, has undergone two operations on her shoulder, which she says was damaged due to her being overworked.
Mrs Graham, who has been declared permanently unfit to return to work as a sonographer, is now suing Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust for compensation of up to £200,000.
She is accusing the trust of a breach of duty, saying it “failed to carry out risk assessments, caused her to carry out double duties, and failed to reduce her commitments despite knowing she had a work-related injury”.
According to a High Court writ the trust has admitted liability for Mrs Graham’s injuries, but will claim contributory negligence.
Mrs Graham has worked at Scarborough Hospital and Malton Hospital since 1997.
Her duties included scanning patients and carrying out administrative work, which she claims was done under immense pressure.
Mrs Graham says when a colleague took a period of sick leave in 2007 she was left to do virtually two jobs.
According to the writ that is when she started to develop symptoms in her right shoulder.
Mrs Graham says her work involved her leaning and twisting her body, and sometimes pressing a probe forcefully into parts of patients, while using her left hand to input data and adjust controls, and faced significant pressure when scanning obese or pregnant patients.
For some scans she had to twist the screen so that expectant mothers and their partners could see their unborn baby, and this put extra pressure on her right shoulder and neck, she alleges.
Mrs Graham argues that her work was pressurised and often relentless, and that sometimes she had to work up to two hours extra a day to finish the workload.
She noticed significantly increased pain in her right shoulder in 2007, and took sick leave in January 2008.
When she went back to work, she went for physiotherapy and acupuncture but her scanning commitments were not reduced, she says.
Mrs Graham went off sick in July 2009, and underwent surgery on her shoulder in October that year, but says her symptoms returned when she went back to work again.
In June 2010 her doctor said she was permanently unfit for work as a sonographer, and she underwent a second operation in July 2010.
The NHS Litigation Authority admitted breach of duty, but said it would allege contributory negligence, saying Mrs Graham was highly experienced and in charge of her own lists, so could have arranged her workload to minimise risks.
Mrs Graham contends the trust negligently failed to warn her about risks to her own safety, required her to scan too many patients, and failed to provide a safe system of work.
The writ was issued by solicitors Howard Kennedy of London, A date for the hearing is yet to be set.