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Birmingham hospital trust declared war on me - surgeon

John Watkinson was one of the country's top ear, nose and throat surgeons.

But Mr Watkinson's life and career were turned upside down when he was accused of shortening the lives of three patients, suspended and investigated.

General Medical Council investigators would eventually close his case, taking no further action, and Mr Watkinson would receive an apology for what he had experienced from his employer University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Trust.

But that was six years after he was first suspended - six years that would see him pushed to the brink.

"As doctors, we're trained in communication skills, we have appraisals, mandatory training," he says. "But the one thing we're not trained to cope with is when somebody declares war on you."

The hospital trust stands by its decision to suspend Mr Watkinson and says its referral to the General Medical Council was "appropriately made following a clinical colleague raising significant concerns" about patient care.

UHB has been in the spotlight in recent weeks, with reviews launched into its culture, leadership, and allegations of poor patient care aired in a Newsnight investigation late last year. It says a review into patient care is now well under way.

Mr Watkinson says he was at the sharp end of this culture when he was suspended and suddenly went "from hero to zero".

He accepts mistakes were made, but not just by him and not ones that would have affected the patients' outcomes.

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Source: BBC News, 13 January 2023


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