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Trust must pay £200k to whistleblower it subjected to ‘campaign of harassment’

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A trust that sacked a whistleblower who had warned them about potential patient harm from a new procedure has been told to pay her more than £200,000.

Jasna Macanovic won her case against Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust last year after the employment tribunal found board members had broken employment rules, including by telling her she would get a good reference if she agreed to quietly resign.

Earlier this month, an employment tribunal judgment to establish the compensation she was owed said the trust had subjected Dr Macanovic to “a campaign of harassment” and rejected Portsmouth’s claim she had contributed to her own dismissal.

The consultant nephrologist, who had been at the trust for 17 years, raised concerns about a technique called “buttonholing” – carried out to make kidney dialysis more convenient and less painful – that she claimed had caused harm to patients.

After the procedures continued, the dispute escalated, culminating with Dr Macanovic being dismissed in March 2018.

The employment tribunal panel said Dr Macanovic had raised her concerns about buttonholing properly, adding: “She was not alone in her concerns. The consultant body were fairly evenly divided.

“She, however, went further than others, and where she believed that risks were being downplayed she did not hesitate to describe this as a cover-up or an act of dishonesty. Most people would not use that language, and it did cause very serious offence, but it had a specific meaning. It was not a general slur.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 23 January 2023

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