A HEALTH worker from Blackburn who insisted she wanted to keep a hands-on role with patients, after an internal shake-up, has won a compensation battle with NHS chiefs.

Sophia Ugradar had worked as an adult mental health locality lead for Lancashire Care in Blackburn until the NHS foundation trust announced her position was being deleted.

Bosses told her, in early 2017,that she would have to take on a more desk-based transformation manager’s job.

After completing a trial week though, Ms Ugradar who had worked in the psychological therapy service since 2005, resigned and explained how she had opted to work in the NHS to deal directly with patients.

Her bosses at Lancashire Care maintained that the post qualified as suitable alternative employment and withheld her contractual redundancy payment.

An employment judge has now ruled in Ms Ugradar’s favour and awarded her £25,000. But she is not entitled to an additional statutory redundancy figure, a tribunal heard.

Making the award, Judge Katherine Ross, said: “I find that the claimant is an individual who is passionate about helping others through psychological therapy.”

The health worker had, she added, enjoyed performing a management role within a clinical setting, which allowed her to maintain direct contact with patients through clinical supervision or dealing with complaints.

An employment tribunal in Manchester heard she started out with mental health services as a volunteer, before becoming a mental health worker and later a manager.

The hearing was told she had been offered at least three redeployment posts, after she discovered her locality lead role was being axed.

An investigator’s job, at the same grade, required flexible working but two others, at a grade below, were for transformation managers, based at trust offices in Leyland.

Until then she had been given the flexibility to leave work early to pick up her son, two days a week, the tribunal heard.

While this same offer was made with the new post, she was informed it would only be on a temporary basis and “the needs of others must also be considered”.

Her pay for the locality lead role was £43,469 and the top banding for her new position was only £41,787, though Ms Ugradar would have seen her pay rate protected for two years.