An employment tribunal has ruled in favour of a south London cancer specialist who claimed he had been bullied and harassed after expressing concern over NHS cost-cutting measures.
Ramon Niekrash, a consultant urologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, south east London, said he was subjected to a “prejudged” grievance investigation into his alleged misconduct after he repeatedly addressed management about hospital cutbacks.
Mr Niekrash began his campaign against hospital management following a series of developments, including the closure of a dedicated ward for urology patients and a reduction in specialist nursing care, which he claimed were financially motivated and putting patients’ wellbeing at risk.
In one letter dated 2 November 2007, Mr Niekrash wrote: “The urology service is more pressured than ever and the only driving force in decision-making has been based on cost-cutting and doing as much as possible for as little outlay as possible.”
An employment tribunal has now exonerated the actions of Mr Niekrash, leaving him free to claim damages against the trust.
A spokeswoman for South London Healthcare Trust said it was still considering the “legal implications” of the ruling.
“There are lessons to be learned from this case and the new trust absolutely believes in the importance of whistleblowing and encourages any staff members with concerns about patient safety to bring them to the attention of their managers straight away,” she said.
“On the specific issue of patient safety, the absolute priority of the new trust is to ensure the quality of care and patient safety.”