Croydon’s NHS trust has appealed against a tribunal ruling that it fired a senior doctor for whistleblowing on patient safety.
The Croydon Guardian reports that Dr Kevin Beatt, a leading cardiologist, was sacked two years ago in a calculated attempt to ruin his reputation after he raised serious concerns about nursing standards, staff bullying and ageing machinery at Croydon University Hospital.
In a damning judgment, Croydon Employment Tribunal ruled in October he had been unfairly dismissed for being a whistleblower.
It was thought to be the first time a tribunal has ruled an NHS employee had been sacked for whistleblowing on patient safety, but Croydon Health Services NHS Trust has now lodged an appeal against the decision.
The decision is likely to provoke criticism because the trust has already spent thousands of pounds fighting Dr Beatt over the last two years and is understood to have additional lawyers working on the appeal.
A spokesman for the trust, which claimed Dr Beatt had been fired for making unsubstantiated allegations, told The Croydon Guardian: “We are clearly very disappointed with the tribunal’s decision.
“We take all concerns about patient safety extremely seriously, as well as allegations of bullying against any of our employees.”
Dr Beatt said today: “It is frustrating because it is just another part of the process of trying to bleed you of your resources. It is not as if the judgement was very fine.
“A few lawyers I showed the judgement to said they would be extremely surprised if they appealed this.”
The Employment Appeal Tribunal only considers appeals based on points of law – legal reasoning that the applicant claims to be flawed – and not on disputes over established fact. It could also opt to throw out the trust’s application.
Between 2008 and his dismissal in September 2012, Dr Beatt raised a catalogue of concerns about inadequate equipment, bullying and harassment of junior employees, removal of key staff, a lack of competent nurses and the failure to properly investigate serious incidents.
The trust claimed Dr Beatt’s criticisms were “vexatious and calculated” began disciplinary proceedings that culminated in his sacking.
But the tribunal found there was “no evidence” Dr Beatt had an ulterior motive and ruled the trust had deliberately tried to damage his reputation.