AN NHS 24 nurse who was sacked after she twice failed to call 999 for patients who went on to have a heart attack has been awarded more than £10,000 for unfair dismissal.

Patricia Pillar first gave the wrong advice to a patient in August 2010 and was given training before being put back on the phones.

When it happened again December 2013, she received further training but months later bosses took the view that she could not return to taking calls and dismissed her.

Employment judge Claire McManus found it was reasonable for bosses to treat the 2013 error as gross misconduct "given the potential risk to patient safety", but ruled in Mrs Pillar's favour because the disciplinary process was unfair.

The judge ruled that NHS 24 should not have considered the 2010 incident when deciding to dismiss her because the nurse was never disciplined for that.

In a written judgment on the case, Judge McManus said: "The tribunal did not accept that the detail of those previous incidents required to be included in the management case, where those matters had not themselves been the subject of disciplinary proceedings."

She added that the investigation was therefore "not within the band of reasonableness" and awarded Mrs Pillar a total of £10,081.80.

Mrs Pillar, of Moodiesburn, Lanarkshire, would have received a more substantial payout had Judge McManus not reduced it by 70 per cent because the nurse contributed to her own dismissal.

The tribunal heard that in 2010, Mrs Pillar was involved in a Patient Safety Incident (PSI) when a patient calling with cardiac symptoms was sent to an out-of-hours centre, only to suffer a heart attack on arrival there.

The judgment states: "The circumstances of the August 2010 PSI are that the claimant ought to have triaged the call to a 999 outcome."

It adds that the nurse should have picked up on a number of "red flags" during the call, including cardiac symptoms.

Mrs Pillar was at that time placed on an eight-week development plan before going back online to handle calls.

In 2013, she was again involved in a PSI which had serious consequences for a patient.

The judgment states: "The circumstances of the December PSI are that the claimant had been contacted by a man who had described symptoms consistent with him having a heart attack."

She again directed the patient to an out-of-hours service and the patient then suffered a heart attack and an out-of-hours worker had to call 999.

Bosses investigated the initial call to Mrs Pillar and found there were again a number of "red flags" which should have been picked up by the nurse, including chest pain, sore and weak arms and the fact the patient was 50-year-old man.

They also noted that her record keeping was "not in line with NMC Code of Conduct or NHS24 best practice".

Mrs Pillar did not dispute that she made a clinical error when she did not call 999 for the patient.

She was instructed to undertake further training and was not told that she might face disciplinary procedures until she was suspended three months later on March 3.

After 12 years' service as a nurse practitioner, she was eventually dismissed in September last year.

The tribunal found that the lack of transparency in the way the disciplinary proceedings were carried out was also unfair to Mrs Pillar.

A spokeswoman for NHS 24 said they intend to appeal the judgment.