The chief executive of one of England’s most prestigious private hospitals has lost her employment tribunal claim that she was dismissed for whistle blowing over patient safety issues.
Aida Yousefi ran the Portland Hospital in central London from January 2017 until her dismissal in December 2019 on two counts of gross misconduct. She was also in charge of The Harley Street Clinic and a specialist cancer centre.
Ms Yousefi’s argument that she was removed after raising concerns about the patient safety was rejected by central London employment tribunal in a judgment published last week.
The judge instead ruled that while other senior staff had raised patient safety concerns over cost-cutting, there was no evidence that Ms Yousefi had done so.
In their judgment the tribunal panel said: “In oral evidence the claimant further accepted that, as CQC-registered manager, if patient safety concerns were not being dealt with she should have raised it with CQC. She did not do so at any point during her employment.”
Staffing concerns were raised by The Harley Street Centre chief nursing officer Claire Champion and others. However, the tribunal heard evidence that doing so could be frowned upon by senior management at HCA International.
The tribunal was shown an email from then vice president of financial operations at THSC and the Portland Enda O’Meara saying “Frankly – we are starting to piss some very senior people off in appearing that we can’t [make savings]. We can’t always cite patient safety. Because the response will always be other facilities are doing it”.
Another email from Mr O’Meara said: “Please don’t cite ’patient safety’ unless you truly believe it to be the case. This term is particularly sensitive and nothing winds them up more”.
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Source: HSJ, 28 March 2022