I was held prisoner at The Christie: Former hospital director in £300k damages claim tells court

Manchester Evening News
Tracy Boylin, the former human resources director at the Withington cancer centre, alleges that she was imprisoned in 6ft x 10ft room for hours during a fiery meeting
Tracy Boylin

A former director of The Christie has told a court how she was imprisoned in a room and subjected to a verbal onslaught at the hospital.

Tracy Boylin, who was human resources director at the world-renowned cancer treatment centre in WithingtonManchester, alleges she was harassed over two months by an external HR consultant.

She has started proceedings against the hospital at Liverpool High Court where she is seeking damages of £300,000.

Ms Boylin, 49, from Bolton, claims she was kept in a 6ft by 10ft room by external consultant Christine Pilgrem, who had been brought in to review the trust’s top management.

She claims she suffered a stress-related, psychiatric injury as a result.

The former director alleges she was bullied and subjected to verbal abuse on five occasions between September and November 2010.

Matters came to a head on November 10, when the two women met to iron out ongoing issues between them and during which the alleged ‘imprisoning’ took place.

Christine Pilgrem

 Under cross-examination by David Eccles, representing the hospital, Ms Boylin accepted that she had met with Ms Pilgrem from 9.30am to 5pm that day, breaking off to attend a directors’ meeting in a different room.

Ms Boylin claims she was ‘imprisoned’ during both her meetings with Ms Pilgrem.

She told the court: “She stood up, towered over me and said ‘You are going ****ing nowhere and don’t **** with me’.

“It was not a normal situation. You don’t expect that to happen.”

Mr Eccles asked: “Did she stand in front of the door?”

Ms Boylin said: “Yes, she was blocking the exit.”

The claimant said she sat down as she felt her legs ‘going’ during a ‘heated’ 20-minute exchange. She added: “It was like someone turned switches off inside me”.

The Christie hospital

 Mr Eccles said Ms Boylin had later told her GP, a psychologist and an occupational health expert that she was ‘locked in the room all day’.

Ms Boylin said: “You can’t go if she won’t let you. You are locked in.”

Ms Pilgrem, who no longer works for the hospital, denies any wrongdoing.

Lawyers for the hospital argue that the exchange between the two women did not constitute harassment.

The hearing is expected to last a week.

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