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Consultant who broke data rules loses appeal

A hospital trust has rejected the appeal of a consultant who was sacked for gross misconduct after transferring patient records to a community diabetes clinic.

Shirine Boardman led the establishment of the Apnee Sehat clinic project in Leamington Spa in 2007, while employed by South Warwickshire General Hospitals trust, and with the support of NHS Warwickshire.

The clinic was set up as a 12-month pilot research project providing help and advice to the Asian community. It received several national awards and was visited by Prince Charles and national clinical director for primary care David Colin-Thomé.

However, the project was not continued and last July Dr Boardman was dismissed by the hospital trust for gross misconduct.

Confidential information

Yesterday, the trust announced it had upheld its original decision following an appeal. It said in a statement: "In February 2008, Dr Boardman transferred over 80 patient records without patient or trust consent from an audit database to the Apnee Sehat organisation.

"The database was never intended to be used to contact patients in this manner and contained patient identifiable confidential information.

"This disclosure of confidential patient information went against explicit, repeated, consistent advice not to do so without individual patient consent. It was also in breach of guidelines on disclosure within the NHS.

Apology

"The database included records relating to a number of deceased patients and, together with other patients, at least one deceased patient's relative was contacted by Apnee Sehat.

"When the matter came to light, we wrote to the patients concerned to apologise, explain the circumstances in which their confidentiality was breached and tell them about the action we had taken."

Some supporters of the project had called for Dr Boardman to be reinstated.

Dr Boardman declined to comment on the trust's decision.

An Apnee Sehat project continues to operate in Coventry.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Another NHS asian professional bites the dust....not short of a whitewash i see yet again....

    It makes conspiracy theory sound like an understatement...!

    This is nothing the NHS seriously needs to review its rules on what it constitutes gross misconduct....I would defintely like to know all the facts before I can make an informed decison.

    Well if it is found that this trust broke its own rules and particularly race relation laws the whole force of the law should fall hard on the leaders eahds and yes the commission should defintely be involved and take this pathetic excuse of yet another whitewash to the cleaners.....!

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  • Liz Miller

    This is command and control gone mad. This needs to go to an employment tribunal urgently.

    Does no one in authority care about the quality of work? is everyone just concerned with ticking their box while services rot?

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  • It would appear that this action is well out of proportion to the alleged offense and, unless there is something that we have not been told about, is likely to cause a deterioration in the service to patients as well as wrecking the career of an expensively trained doctor.
    One reason for consultants retiring early is the stress of working under increasingly restrictive conditions with a Parkinsonly increasing management structure and rules that bear little resemblance to reasonableness and practicality but to arcane logic derived from inaccurate premises.

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  • If the alleged offence is what we read,I think the treatment has been rather harsh. When you consider the years of training with no alleged patient neglect is the sentence fair? I think not.

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