The Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been encouraged, by NHS whistleblower, David Drew, to set up an independent inquiry into Croydon University Hospital’s decision to dismiss a renowned cardiologist.
Dr Kevin Beatt according to an employment tribunal last December, was unfairly sacked by the hospital, after raising safety concerns. Croydon Health Services Trust is now appealing the tribunal’s decision.
Drew, who was himself fired by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust in 2010, has written a letter to Hunt urging him to establish an inquiry into Dr Kevin Beatt’s removal “before another penny is spent”.
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has already spent more than £130,000 on legal fees during these legal proceedings.
Beatt was sacked in September 2012 after he raised health and safety concerns following a patient’s death during a heart operation in June 2011.
Drew said of Beatt’s case: “The Trust is now appealing the tribunal’s decision and has engaged a hugely expensive legal team to represent it. This can serve no purpose other than to further drain the already over-stretched local health economy.”
The hospital hired Jane McNeill QC, of Old Square Chambers who charges between £4,000 and £5,000 a day to appeal the judgment.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected the appeal on Tuesday, saying it would not succeed. However, Croydon Health Services insisted legal proceedings were not yet completed and is still willing to continue its defense.
A spokesperson from the trust told ELL: “Legal proceedings relating to this case are not yet complete and we are pursuing the appeal. We have not been informed by the Department of Health of any intention to convene an inquiry.”
Since the trial, Beatt has been unable to find work within the NHS. He told the Croydon Advertiser: “The hospital is spending huge amounts of public money, not to defend the trust or the clinical service, but to defend the reputation of its managers”.
The inquiry would have to look into the previous issues raised by the cardiologist, such as the serious concerns about safety in the cardiology department, which were backed by an independent Royal College of Physicians investigation in September 2009. In a letter to medical director Tony Newman-Sanders, Beatt described the facilities as “appalling” and questioned the safety of radiation equipment.