Saturday, August 30, 2008

Harassment and Bullying in the NHS

A young doctor is suspended and his career ruined for saying a few words in a private internet forum against one of the senior doctors in the NHS. He has apparently been reported to the General Medical Council and the situation is continuing to escalate.

If this happened in industry, it would not matter. Junior Manager writes that the "Chairman of Montsanto is a turd" in a private forum. Junior Manager apologises, gets sacked and promptly gets appointed in a different company. By the way, in case the Chairman of Montsanto is reading this - please show yourself to be above Needham, Paice and Black and do not report me to the General Vitamin Council for being rude and offensive.

This case matters because medicine is a government monopoly. This young man's career is finished. The dreadful trio of Needham, Paice and Black have destroyed him. The GMC will not let him go - although please Catto prove me wrong. He will lose his registration or at the very least it will be made "conditional". This will go with him for the rest of his career in medicine and after.

Yet again, I am ashamed to belong to a profession that has structured itself so that patient care comes last, and bullies and harasses its members so that no one dares speak out about what is happening. Somewhere I wrote about the medicine as a cult. Its behaviour is beginning to resemble that of the worst kind of secret society. Its knowledge is kept secret, access is limited, and it silences all who dare criticise.

Doctors are being intimidated. This case is a warning to any young doctor speaking out against the medical authorities. He might have made some rash comments. But, fearing that he is the tip of the iceberg, Needham, Paice and Black have cut him off at the knees. Be warned! You cannot cut the tip off an iceberg

Other bloggers who have written more eloquently on this subject include

This is also a moment of deep irony.

Working for a healthier tomorrow "Dame Carol Black's review of the health of the working age population" Dame Carol Black's recent rise to power is based on a report to get people back into work. Yet Dame Carol Black is the centre of a row keeping a doctor out of work??


peter a. said...

Only the other night, on BBC4, there was a programme about Nicholas Culpeper, rebel apothecary. Whether it's in the nature of the profession, something deeply ingrained, or a dash of each, physicians seem to have guarded their privileges jealously for hundreds of years. I think it's human nature to guard one's corner in this way; but it can't go on.

As the programme pointed out, the true memorial to people like Culpeper, who tried to bring treatment to all, and demystify things, would be the modern NHS. There have to be ways to maintain standards, but in less masonic ways.

Dr. Liz Miller said...

Good points

The guilds in the Middle Ages brought together skilled craftsmen to protect their knowledge and the standards of their work.

On the other hand, a modern society is one where opportunities, insight and knowledge are open to all. The same applies to a modern NHS.

I believe a profession is a group of people who have a concern for standards and for the greater welfare of society.

In this sense, the opposite is a Cartel where people group together to get themselves the best price for their product and services, by acting as a monopoly.

It might reasonably be argued that medicine has degenerated into a the worst combinatio of a Cult Cartel

Jobbing Doctor said...

Dear Liz,

As an established GP I can get away with saying more than those working in trusts.

This action of Professors Paice and Needham is wholly unacceptable and not proportionate. It shames us all.

I have also penned my twopenny'orth on


Dr. Liz Miller said...

Thanks - have added you to the list
:-) L

dr.janedoe said...

I'm gonna have to say though, if this guy loses his registration or has conditions attached, then to some extent it is his own bloody fault. Get a lawyer, man! This is an ILLEGAL suspension. He is NOT GUILTY of any professional misconduct. He cursed on a website for f**& sake! If he doesn't get himself a lawyer and sort this properly, with fightin', then he is allowing this mess to continue.

Any half decent lawyer with experience in employment law could win this one easily as regards the suspension at the local level.

Dr. Liz Miller said...

I agree. To begin with it looked ridiculous and that the Trust "could not be serious". It seems they are and that they may also be "developing" various other charges.

The longer he leaves it to get a proper lawyer, the harder it will be to get back in. Without doubt the Trust are using this time "usefully" to make a case for suspending him that has nothing to do with the comments on DNUK, including a patient "Help Line".

As Wendy Savage said "you could look through any experienced doctor's case book and a find enough cases to suspend them" or words to that effect.

This needs to be sorted out, legally.

It is a massive shock, when any employee is suspended, brought before any kind of disciplinary proceeedings - not just doctors.

The next stage has to be - get expert help quickly. Take a range of advice and opinions and see which fits your case best.

The suspended employee has to run their case. No one can do this for you. Everyone can be supportive, but at the end of the day it is your neck on the line.

Decide your outcome how do you see this case being resolved?

In Scot Junior's case this may well be a compromise agreement with his trust, references and a settlement.

Dr. Liz Miller said...

I forgot to say. The first step in defending any kind of suspension has to be a Freedom of Information call, and a Data Protection Act inquiry. Difficult to do, it goes against every natural instinct in the culture. But you need to know what has been going on behind the scenes, and know as soon as possible.

christina said...

where has the freedom of speech gone????????????? are we turning into a haunting big brother...?

Dr. Liz Miller said...

The short answer is "yes, we are becoming a Big Brother State"
The long answer is a likely to be a lot more sinister