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Nurse wins compensation after £10k fine for NHS pay protest in lockdown

Karen Reissmann, and another nurse fined £200, sued Greater Manchester Police; Ms Reissmann said protest aimed to protect ‘traumatised and exhausted’ NHS workers

Karen Reissmann, and another nurse fined £200, sued Greater Manchester Police; Ms Reissmann said protest aimed to protect ‘traumatised and exhausted’ NHS workers

A mental health nurse who was fined £10,000 for organising a socially distanced protest over poor NHS pay during a time of COVID-19 restrictions has won compensation from the police.

Karen Reissmann received the fixed penalty notice from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for organising the protest on 7 March 2021 over the government’s proposed 1% pay rise for NHS workers .

Karen Reissmann, and another nurse fined £200, sued Greater Manchester Police; Ms Reissmann said protest aimed to protect ‘traumatised and exhausted’ NHS workers

Police speak to Karen Reissmann after breaking up the protest in Manchester. Picture: Alamy

A mental health nurse who was fined £10,000 for organising a socially distanced protest over poor NHS pay during a time of COVID-19 restrictions has won compensation from the police.

Karen Reissmann received the fixed penalty notice from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for organising the protest on 7 March 2021 over the government’s proposed 1% pay rise for NHS workers.

Second nurse also received fine from police

Around 40 people were expected to attend the outdoor event at St Peter’s Square in Manchester, which was to be socially distanced, with face masks and hand sanitiser available.

After arriving at the square, Ms Reissmann was told by police that the protest was not permitted under COVID-19 regulations at the time. She was fined £10,000 and cautioned by police.

Protest attendee Patricia Gallagher, also a mental health nurse, was arrested. She was later de-arrested and fined £200 for breaking COVID-19 regulations.

Police withdraw nurses’ fines

Both nurses sued the police over the fines, which were this week withdrawn by GMP – the same week that senior civil servant Sue Gray published a damning report into lockdown parties held at 10 Downing Street.

The police conceded they had ‘misunderstood the effects’ of the COVID-19 regulations, according to Bindmans, the nurse’s solicitors.

Nurse incredulous at her fine in the light of ‘partygate’

Ms Reissmann said the protest was intended to ‘protect the NHS’ when the government offered a 1% pay rise to ‘traumatised and exhausted’ NHS workers.

She added: ‘I received a fine 200 times the amount of the fine Boris Johnson has received. Why, when the protest I organised was lawful and intended to improve the world, not party in a flagrant abuse of the rules?

‘The NHS now has 110,000 unfilled vacancies. More than 100,000 people died in the UK from COVID-19. Millions are on NHS waiting lists. The prime minister should be resigning over this, as well as his parties.’

Protest was highlighting treatment of NHS workers

The nurses’ solicitor Emily-Jade Defriend said: ‘Greater Manchester Police got it wrong in imposing criminal sanctions on Ms Reissmann and Ms Gallagher.

‘The gathering that Ms Reissmann organised was not frivolous, it was an important public statement about how NHS workers were being treated beyond the weekly clap.’

GMP confirmed that a settlement had been reached after a woman was fined following a protest on 7 March 2021.


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