Two clinicians who say they lost their jobs at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust after raising patient safety concerns claim the trust’s legal team brought a five-figure costs threat against them to prevent witnesses from giving evidence in a tribunal.
The threat of costs liability, intended to bring the case to a halt, was made halfway through the hearing – less than 48 hours before witnesses for the trust were due to give evidence.
One of the claims put forward at the tribunal hearing was that the trust had destroyed crucial evidence by deleting the email account of a former staff member.
The clinicians – Samir Lalitcumar and Ahmed Ghedri – brought allegations of poor practice against current and former staff at the trust. Berkshire NHS trust claimed their allegations, including claims that the trust had deleted email evidence, were “without merit”.
A fortnight into the tribunal hearing, both out-of-work medics were threatened with costs liability, known as a “drop-hands offer”, totalling more than £300,000, had they opted to proceed with their case and lost.
Lalitcumar and Ghedri had brought claims of whistleblowing detriment against their former employer, Berkshire Healthcare Trust. They say they were “victimised” and unfairly dismissed as a result of having blown the whistle on dangerous care within the trust’s geriatrics services – potentially affecting upwards of 2,000 patients.
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Source: Computer Weekly, 7 December 2022