Mr Kevin Beatt, a consultant cardiologist, has won his claim for automatic unfair dismissal and detriment due to protected disclosure against Croydon Health Services NHS Trust after claiming that he had been dismissed from his role at Croydon Hospital in July 2012 because he had raised concerns about staffing shortages, “appalling” equipment, and workplace bullying.
Mr Beatt issued his Employment Tribunal claim for deductions from his wages, automatic unfair dismissal, and detriment due to protected disclosures in the South London Employment Tribunal in late 2012.
The claim came before the Employment Tribunal panel at South London Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with Employment Judge Sage chairing the hearing. The Employment Tribunal heard evidence from Mr Beatt that he had made complaints to management staff at Croydon Hospital between 2008 and his dismissal in 2012, including:
- That he had told the medical director of the hospital in January 2010 that the aging radiation equipment in the cardiology unit was placing patients and staff at risk
- That there had been a serious dispute between Mr Beatt and hospital directors in July 2011 when a senior nurse was suspended without his knowledge and a 63-year-old patient died in a routine procedure, with Mr Beatt left for 20 minutes undertaking surgery with a junior nurse who did not even have basic knowledge of the operation he was undertaking
- That four days after his complaint in July 2011 he was threatened by Nick Hulme, then the chief executive of the NHS Trust
- Various complaints that the NHS Trust was failing to ignore serious incidents, that key staff were being removed, that junior employees were being bullied, and that all of these issues were placing staff and patient safety at risk
The Tribunal heard evidence that Mr Beatt was suspended by the NHS Trust in September 2011 and started disciplinary proceedings after putting allegations to Mr Beatt that his criticisms of the Trust were “vexatious” and calculated to ensure the restoration of Sister Lucy Jones. Allegations made by another member of staff, Dr Asiq Qasim, that Mr Beatt was mentally unstable were also investigated by staff at the NHS Trust.
The Employment Tribunal ruled in Mr Beatt’s favour in his claims for detriment due to protected disclosure and automatic unfair dismissal but dismissed his claim for unlawful deductions from his wages as it was not made within the relevant limitation dates. Employment Judge Sage stated: “The tribunal concludes on all the evidence before us that the respondent has not shown that the reason for dismissal was misconduct” and that Mr Beatt had been subjected to detriments and dismissed because he had made protected disclosures (also known as “whistleblowing”).
A remedies hearing will be held at a later date to determine the compensation that Mr Beatt will be paid.
Mr Beatt stated after the judgment was released: “There’s no doubt in my mind that what they do is, if things have gone badly wrong, instead of saying things have gone badly wrong, they try to cover it up. The bigger picture here is it’s not just this case they’ve done it on. They’ve done it on lots of others. At the end of the day it is in order to misrepresent events to the patient and their relatives. That needs to be exposed.”
A spokesman for the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust stated: “We are clearly very disappointed with the tribunal’s decision. Having sought legal advice, the trust is in the process of submitting an appeal against the judgment, to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.”