An ambulance worker who lost his job because of a serious back injury has
been given £140,000 compensation by the Greater Manchester Ambulance Service.
Norman Thurrell, 58, was badly injured in August 1999 due to faulty
ambulance equipment. His case was supported by health workers’ union, Unison.
Thurrell was transporting a 19-stone patient to the Duchess of York Hospital
in Manchester when two wheels came off the undercarriage of the stretcher.
This left Thurrell carrying the full weight of the patient and the stretcher
for about five minutes.
He damaged his lower back and right leg so severely that his employment was
terminated in August 2000.
Thurrell said: "I would like to see ambulance workers given much more
say over the type of equipment used – they are the ones who really know what
works and what doesn’t."
Unison national health officer Jon Richards, said: "We are constantly
having to bring cases to court where workers have been injured by the equipment
they use. Some equipment we see are well past their sell-by date."
The union said that in 2001 it recovered more than £1.5m on behalf of health
workers who suffered back injuries at work.