04 February 2010
Consultant urologist makes progress in whistleblowing claim
A consultant urologist has made progress in his claims that he suffered bullying and harassment after blowing the whistle on cost-cutting measures.
Ramon Niekrash from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital - which is run by the South London Healthcare NHS Trust - said that he was the victim of a "prejudiced" grievance investigation into alleged misconduct after he queried management about spending reductions.
For example, in a letter he wrote in November 2007, he said: "The urology service is more pressured than ever and the only driving force in decision-making has been based on cost-cutting and doing as much as possible for as little outlay as possible."
In a new development, his actions have been exonerated and he is now free to claim damages against the trust.
Responding to the development, the organisation - which employs more than 6,000 people - said it is considering the legal implications of the ruling.
Arpita Dutt, partner in the award-winning employment team at Russell Jones & Walker who represented Mr Niekrash, said: "The decision to exclude Mr Niekrash was exceptional and unjustified and has had an ongoing adverse impact on his reputation, practice and his health, and we are delighted that the tribunal's judgment reflects this.
"As is acknowledged in the tribunal's judgment, there was tension between the professional desire of consultants such as Dr Niekrash and his colleagues to provide a good quality service for patients and the requirements of management to reduce costs and also comply with targets set by the Department of Health.
"Unfortunately such tensions manifested to the detriment of Mr Niekrash. In the wake of further cuts to public services including the health service and the likely increase in such tensions, it is hoped that employers will not resort to similar silencing measures against employees who raise legitimate public interest concerns."