Doctors in Allitt case fight for reinstatement: Consultants sacked from unit where children were murdered 'are scapegoats'

TWO consultants who have lost their jobs on the paediatric unit where Beverly Allitt murdered four children and injured nine others yesterday took their battle for reinstatement to the High Court.

Charith Nanayakkara and Nelson Porter were told they had been unsuccessful in reapplying for their jobs after the Queens Medical Centre Trust in Nottingham took over the running of paediatric services at Grantham and Kesteven hospital because of the Allitt affair.

But the consultants are believed to feel they have been made scapegoats for wider failures in the case.

Yesterday lawyers acting for the British Medical Association obtained a temporary court order to prevent their jobs being filled until the case can be heard in full at the end of next month. The doctors are now on leave on full pay, but they were told by the trust that their services would not be required after 30 June, or one month after the end of the trial. Allitt is being held at Rampton top security hospital awaiting sentence next week.

The doctors will argue that under European Community legislation staff of a business transferred to another organisation must be moved with their jobs. A spokeswoman for the BMA said that the doctors had never been criticised in any way over their role in the Allitt affair.

Yesterday the doctors declined to comment, but earlier Dr Nanayakkara had told an Asian community newspaper that the news that he was being made redundant was a shock.

'I don't have to prove my innocence or guilt. I'm not a criminal. We performed our duties as clinicians. So far as I'm concerned, I am still employed by the health authority. We have done our duty as doctors, and we can prove it,' he said.

Meanwhile, the father of one of the victims demanded a meeting with the Prime Minister to air the parents' grievances, particularly their alarm that the inquiry by Sir Cecil Clothier might take evidence from Allitt.

Chris Taylor, whose baby son Liam died, said: 'For Sir Cecil to announce that he will probably call Beverly Allitt to give evidence is totally unbelievable.

'He is talking about the person that committed the crimes, the person that deceived so many people, the parents, the management and the nurses she was working with.'