Feyi Awotona: 'I was limited by my race and sex'

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The Independent Online

Dr Awotona, 50, from Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, was sacked in 1998 after she began amassing evidence for her racial discrimination claim.

She told the tribunal that the clearest example of the discrimination she suffered came when the then medical director of the trust, Peter Robson, who has since died, said there was a "limit" to what she could achieve at South Tyneside "because I was a woman and black". She added: "He made it clear his opinion of the worth and respect that should be accorded to me was influenced by my race and gender."

The South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust claimed Dr Awotona was obstructive and confrontational and said she had been sacked for "gross personal misconduct".

But the tribunal found that the primary reason for her dismissal was that she had decided to take legal action against the trust for racial discrimination.

"We were satisfied that the making and pursuit of the allegations of racial discrimination resulted in the decision to dismiss the applicant," it concluded.

Her solicitor, Jane Jelly, said the case showed racism was rife in the NHS and accused the trust of dragging it out, inflating the final cost to the taxpayer, with legal expenses, to an estimated £3m.