Guilty verdict in hospital hearing

Bob Brierley
Bob Brierley
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A WIGAN councillor who “intimidated hospital staff” was found to be in breach of the elected members’ code of conduct.

In the third of a series of six hearings, the council’s standards committee decided Coun Bob Brierley had brought his office into disrepute.

Yesterday’s town hall proceedings focused on a complaint made by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust chief executive Andrew Foster. Coun Brierley, who again boycotted the hearing, was alleged to have turned up unannounced at Wigan Infirmary in the early hours “demanding confidential information about the treatment of a patient.”

Speaking to the Evening Post following the verdict, the outspoken independent member for Hindley Green said he was responding to a call from former councillor Emma McGurrin to assist a resident who required help regarding her son, who was undergoing treatment at the hospital.

He said he did not act in a intimidatory manner and had merely asked staff where to find the patient’s mother and left when he was told she was not present, he added.

Coun Brierley said: “I was there to support the boy’s mother, who had contacted Coun McGurrin, who had then texted me. When they said she was not here, I asked if the lad was alright, that was it.”

For the third week in a row the meeting was held in private with press and public barred due to concerns about revealing the identity of witnesses and, in this case, the patient.

Coun Brierley and representative Peter Franzen were not present having boycotted the remaining hearings, calling for them to be conducted by an independent panel.

They have informed local authority bosses of their intention to refer the verdicts to judicial review.

Mr Foster’s complaint detailed how Coun Brierley had “refused to take no for an answer” when he was refused patient information.

Hospital staff were left feeling intimidated and security officers were based on the ward overnight “in case he returned”, the council said.

In the first two hearings Coun Brierley was found guilty of “bullying and intimidatory behaviour” toward a social enterprise volunteer and a council employee, respectively.

Council officials have said sanctions will be imposed after the sixth hearing.