Surgeon Arjuna Weerasinghe dismissed after complaining about lack of equipment in operating theatre
Mr Weerasinghe alerted trust to lack of equipment, and also claimed he caught pneumonia working in the trust’s theatres, which he alleged had not been deep-cleaned for years
Sunday 13 July 2014
A surgeon was unfairly sacked after complaining about the lack of equipment at his hospital, an employment tribunal has ruled.
Arjuna Weerasinghe, 50, said he raised concerns at Basildon Hospital in Essex after being unable to obtain a packing wick to stem an extensive bleed while operating on a patient in 2010.
When the patient died three days later, Mr Weerasinghe compiled an incident report to alert Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to the lack of necessary equipment.
Mr Weerasinghe also claimed he caught pneumonia working in the trust’s operating theatres, which he alleged had not been deep-cleaned for years.
The trust had insisted Mr Weerasinghe was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2012 after hospital bosses claimed he had “misled” them over his illness. But ruling against the trust, the East London employment tribunal noted that Mr Weerasinghe’s disclosures relating to the death of his patient “were a material influence in the decisions... to subject [him] to a disciplinary investigation”.
The case is likely to add to worries about the treatment of NHS whistleblowers, despite Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanding that hospital managers stop trying to pressure them into signing gagging agreements.
In a statement on Sunday night, however, the trust seemed to attempt to draw a distinction between the reasons for which disciplinary proceedings started and the reasons for which Mr Weerasinghe was eventually fired.
A spokesman said: “We would like to make it clear that the judge concluded that Mr Weerasinghe was not dismissed for raising issues relating to patient care.”
Addressing claims about cleanliness at Basildon Hospital, the spokesman added: “The trust has made significant improvements to [hygiene] and last month was rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission. The CQC also noted good infection-prevention practices and that hygiene audits completed in theatres showed 100 per cent compliance for the month prior to their visit.”
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
Life & Style blogs
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Windows 10 release: Microsoft bypasses 'Windows 9' with new operating system
The Fappening: After the third wave of leaked celebrity photos, why can't we stop it?
Victoria's Secret's millionaire models
Stoptober: How I stopped smoking for good
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- < Previous
- Next >
£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...