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Nurse Sarah Kuteh who preached to Darent Valley Hospital patients was sacked fairly, rules appeal court

A nurse who preached to patients and even asked one to sing a psalm in an encounter described as "like a Monty Python skit" was fairly dismissed, a court of appeal has ruled.

Sarah Kuteh was sacked by Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust in 2016 for talking to patients at Darent Valley Hospital about her faith and handing out a bible, contravening the rules of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The NMC has since ruled she is fit to return to work as a nurse, and she launched a second appeal against the initial ruling of the employment tribunal.

Nurse Sarah Kuteh arriving at the Employment tribunal offices in County Square, Ashford, Kent, in 2017. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.
Nurse Sarah Kuteh arriving at the Employment tribunal offices in County Square, Ashford, Kent, in 2017. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

But in a judgement published by the Court of Appeal this week, Lord Justice Singh ruled the dismissal was fair, and dismissed the appeal, noting Ms Kuteh had accepted she initiated conversations with patients about religion, and had given assurances - prior to her dismissal - that she would not initiate such discussions.

The judge also noted one key incident on June 3 2016, in which a cancer patient had called the Trust's complaints department to recount an encounter with Ms Kuteh which the patient described as “very bizarre” and “like a Monty Python skit”.

The judement noted Ms Kuteh had told the patient that "the only way he could get to the Lord was through Jesus;" and that she would give him her bible if he did not have one.

She had also "gripped his hand tightly and said a prayer that was very intense and went 'on and on'; and asked him to sing Psalm 23, after which he was so astounded that he had sung the first verse with her."

Summarising his findings, Lord Justice Singh added: "The decision to dismiss the Claimant for misconduct was one which the ET concluded fell within the band of reasonable responses open to the Respondent in this case.

"Even having regard to the importance of the right to freedom of religion, it was plainly open to the ET to conclude that this dismissal had not been unfair.

"Similarly, the Employment Appeal Tribunal was plainly correct, in my view, to regard the appeal as having no reasonable prospect of success and therefore in dismissing it."

He added: "For the reasons I have given I would dismiss this appeal."

The Christian Legal Centre - which represents Ms Kuteh - said she is currently in discussion with her legal team to consider her next step.

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