Nursing staff accused of tying up pensioners at Northwick Park Hospital have been made scapegoats, one of their colleagues has claimed.
The 64-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed the four carers would be appealing against the findings of a damning report, published by Harrow Primary Care Trust (PCT).
It said five OAPs were inappropriately restrained with bed sheets and braces on Fletcher Ward, sometimes for long periods.
The anonymous source believes it was not the nurses' fault and that the blame should rest with senior management.
He also is demanding to know why members of staff, who worked day shifts, were not reprimanded, even though the report says patients were restrained both day and night.
The Harrow resident said his partner would come home and tell him of the pressure she faced while working on the ward.
He said: "The ward had been under-staffed for a long time due to the PCT's decision to reduce cost. The staff faced intolerable situations at times.
"My partner didn't want to speak out about the way things were run on the ward for fear of reprisals but the situation was down to lack of staff. Twentysix patients being looked after by one staff nurse, two health care assistants and a bank nurse was not enough. The pressure on these nurses was immense and the PCT let them work in these conditions."
Police were called to Fletcher ward on November 12 when a patient was discovered tied to a chair with a sheet. The discovery led to 34 pensioners and their relatives being interviewed, along with 33 members of staff. The workers on duty at the time were suspended.
The staff member's partner added: "I am not disputing that patients were restrained, because they were. However, my partner says the man in question who triggered the investigation was never restrained. The police interviewed staff and the Crown Prosecution Service found no evidence of criminal misconduct.
"My partner and I think it was wrong but sometimes there was probably no alternative. People could see it as depriving people of their liberty but they were loosely restrained to prevent them falling over.
"I believe my partner and the other nurses have been harshly treated. They were trying to prevent the patients from hurting themselves. There was nothing incriminating about their actions. I also find it hard to believe that this was going on without senior members knowing."
Investigators found nearly half the staff working on the ward in the period were temps and few were trained to care for vulnerable people. The PCT had been in financial trouble and there were insufficient staff to cover the ward shifts.
A week later the patient who was allegedly tied up died of natural causes. He fell on the ward and hit his head, but apparently died of natural causes.
The man added: "This has been dragging on for 10 months and I feel like she has been victimised. She has never been suspended and has been a loyal nurse for a very long time. It has had emotional repercussions on us both.
"The nurses do a sterling job and they have a mentality at the bottom of their hearts to treat patients with the care and to make sure they are comfortable."