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THE ADVERTISER SAYS: Croydon University Hospital must end costly exercise in saving face and accept whistleblower verdict

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CROYDON University Hospital is to continue its attempt to overturn an employment tribunal's verdict – despite being told it has no grounds for an appeal.

Hospital directors are trying to fight a tribunal's ruling that they sacked a senior doctor for publicly raising safety concerns after the death of a patient.

They hired a top QC – who charges up to £5,000 a day – to work on the appeal – having already spent more than £130,000 in legal fees fighting the case.

This week they indicated they are willing to spend more public money by dragging out the legal process, despite being snubbed by the appeal judge.

The Advertiser says today – enough is enough.

The board of directors at Croydon Health Services (CHS), the trust which runs the hospital, must see sense.

Tens of thousands of pounds of NHS funds have been spent to discredit the case put forward by Dr Kevin Beatt.

And the trust seems determined to waste tens of thousands more in what increasingly appears a desperate attempt to save face.

This paper has asked politicians to condemn this reckless misuse of the public purse and, while council leader Tony Newman questioned the spending, their response has not been strong enough.

So now we say directly to hospital chief John Goulston and his fellow directors: "This must stop."

It must stop because it cannot be right for a hospital to spend its money in this way when the NHS faces the sort of pressures and unprecedented demand which led hospitals, including Croydon's, to declare major incidents this month.

It must stop because NHS staff who speak out, whether about safety or bullying, should be supported, not treated "inexcusably" as described only last week by a House of Commons select committee.

And it must stop because the case the trust is attempting to discredit has now been upheld by two judges, who have decided that Dr Beatt is a reliable witness who raised legitimate concerns about the death of a patient.

Speaking to the Advertiser this week, the consultant cardiologist, whose career has been destroyed, said: "It's quite extraordinary what the directors are doing. I feel a sense of outrage.

"If an individual was having to pay for this, having been batted down twice in the way they have, no one would continue to pursue it. It would be throwing good money after bad.

"It's only the fact they can use someone else's money that they continue and that's what I think is so outrageous."

In an other development, Dr Beatt has been informed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that four CHS directors are likely to be among the first executives to face a new "fit and proper person" test, as a direct result of the tribunal's findings.

The hospital spent £132,048 defending Dr Beatt's claim for unfair dismissal, which was lodged after he was sacked in September 2012 after informing the coroner that the trust's decision to suspend a nurse involved in a routine operation had contributed to patient Peter Storey's death in 2011.

This week, a spokesman for Croydon Health Services simply said: "Legal proceedings are not yet complete and we are pursuing the appeal."

Words by Gareth Davies

THE ADVERTISER SAYS: Croydon University Hospital must end costly exercise in saving face and accept whistleblower verdict


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