- Paediatric neurologist granted right to appeal employment tribunal after trust releases report
- University Hospitals of Leicester Trust commissioned report after death of Jack Adcock in 2011 but only released it last year
- Consultant dismissed after tweeting that trust’s then medical director should be sacked says report would have been relevant to his whistleblowing claim
A consultant has won the right to appeal his employment tribunal, after fresh evidence was unearthed about his department during the fallout from the Bawa-Garba case.
The paediatric neurologist, who worked at University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, was suspended seven days before the death of Jack Adcock at the same trust – an incident which later saw the six-year-old’s doctor, Hadiza Bawa-Garba, convicted of manslaughter and has subsequently had a significant effect on how medical governance works at a national level.
Jayaprakash Gosalakkal argued to the employment appeal tribunal that investigations into Dr Bawa-Garba’s case unearthed material which supported his claims for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing against the trust.
In February 2011, the trust had ordered a serious incident report into Dr Bawa-Garba’s case “which found several failings in their children’s hospitals”, the EAT’s judgment said.
The trust released this document last year. Dr Gosalakkal said it should have been produced at his original employment tribunal in 2015.
HSJ understands the report was published in response to a freedom of information request and the trust does not routinely release serious incident reports. HSJ also understands the trust is of the view the report is not linked to Dr Gosalakkal’s case.
It is not clear how the contents of the 2011 report relate to Dr Gosalakkal’s claims.
On Thursday, the EAT ruled the initial tribunal sitting in Leicester had erred in dismissing his subsequent request for a reconsideration hearing and ordered a halt to the trust’s recovery of more than £80,000 in costs.
The original employment judge had erred in not considering the overlap between the whistleblowing and unfair dismissal elements of the case, “given that the first allegation involved a breakdown of relationships over a significant period between the claimant [Dr Gosalakkal] and various colleagues and managers”, last week’s judgment said.
Dr Gosalakkal joined the trust in 2002, with the appeal judgment noting: “He joined a department which had been through a time of difficulty.”
It added: “It was his case that there was a dominant clique of paediatricians loyal to a former consultant who were hostile to him, and that there were serious failings in the paediatric department concerning which he was bound to speak out.
“Others, however, considered that he did not engage well, was intolerant of those who disagreed with his views on medical matters, and was prone to raising serious complaints about them if he was ever in conflict with them.
“On any view relationships within the department were poor.”
The trust commissioned a report on the conflicts in 2010 with which Dr Gosalakkal was unhappy and the judgment said he tweeted that “for the welfare of paediatric and neurology at Leicester it was necessary to remove the medical director”.
A further report was commissioned and on 7 February 2011 he was suspended, with a disciplinary hearing in October upholding allegations about his communication and relationship with colleagues. He was dismissed in November of that year.
Employment judge David Richardson said: “The parties would do well to consider whether they can save further costs by reaching a compromise.”
Dr Gosalakkal left Leicester and secured new work in the United States soon after his dismissal.
A University Hospitals of Leicester Trust spokeswoman said: “We will continue to strenuously defend any claim pursued by Dr Gosalakkal.”