A NURSE who was unfairly dismissed from an Essex hospital has been awarded more than £127,000.

Gulf War veteran Andrew Smith had an unblemished 28 year medical career but was sacked after raising concerns about alleged bullying at Mid Essex Hospital NHS Trust.

The whistleblower also claimed staff at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford were not being given proper breaks or receiving recruitment and retention payments.

Mr Smith said the response from the trust was to sack him rather than deal with the claims.

He said: “Staff raising concerns are targeted by managers because they don’t want the concerns to be raised in the public interest. My case has proved that.”

The NHS had argued Mr Smith had been seen as a nuisance and a source of irritation and was guilty of gross misconduct.

He was dismissed in July 2015 having been suspended a year earlier.

Employment judge Martin Warren ruled in Mr Smith’s favour and said: “The dismissal and appeal officers were very much aware of the protected disclosures and what a nuisance those disclosures had been.

“As a whistleblower, he was a nuisance, and so they dismissed him because he was a whistleblower.

Following details of the payout, which was confirmed this week, Mr Smith said: “I have been blacklisted from getting jobs within the NHS in the area for the past four or five years.

“I can’t get a job in Mid Essex, even though I’ve been cleared by a tribunal judgement.”

A spokesman for what is now the Mid and South Essex University Hospitals Group said: “The trust will always reflect upon the findings of an employment tribunal, and we will also carefully consider the details raised in any whistleblowing case.

“Following Mr Smith’s allegations, an independent inquiry looked at the concerns raised and found that the trust had acted appropriately and correctly on all of the matters raised.

“Earlier this year, an external service was commissioned to provide staff with an independent contact point to raise any concerns under Freedom to Speak Up.

“The Guardian Service provides a named contact who visits the trust regularly.”