Sacked Royal London doctor fights his case at tribunal
PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:18 05 October 2010
by Gemma Collins A TOP consultant who claims he was sacked from the Royal London for being a whistleblower says he championed junior doctors who were being harassed and bul
A TOP consultant who claims he was sacked from the Royal London for being a whistleblower says he championed junior doctors who were being harassed and bullied at the hospital.
Consultant radiologist Dr Otto Chan, 52, told an employment tribunal that trainees at the hospital in Whitechapel were left unsupervised to practice procedures they had not been trained for, risking patients' lives.
And the radiology department was so "dysfunctional" that the hospital had a backlog of 100,000 unprocessed x-ray films that had been dumped in a store cupboard, causing delays in treatment.
But his claims were dismissed as "fantasy" by a hospital boss.
Dr Chan's claims emerged as the father-of-seven took Barts and the London Trust, which runs the Royal London, to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Dr Chan who worked at the trust for around 23 years claims he was fired in June 2006 after he spoke out publically about problems within the radiology department.
During the seven-day hearing at the East London Tribunal Service in Blackwall, Dr Chan said that junior doctors were left on their own to "practice" on patients as they were taking x-rays with only a set of diagrams to help guide them.
And scans and x-rays were not being checked by a radiologist, meaning thousands of patients may not have been told they had a serious illness.
He told the hearing: "The department was dysfunctional and x-rays were all over the place with juniors unable to find the films.
"I had to protect the juniors from bullying. I had an absolute duty to report that they were not comfortable about doing certain procedures.
"Patient care was being put at risk as junior doctors were being pressurised to go beyond their expertise.
"I was just verbalising what they all felt but were unable to say."
The hearing heard that Dr Chan, who lives in Hampstead in North West London, contacted the medical magazine Hospital Dr and the British Medical Association in 2004 criticising the way junior doctors were being treated.
He also spoke out about the problems during a visit by the Royal College of Radiologists.
Professor Peter Armstrong, the trust's former Head of Training and Clinical Director of Radiology told the hearing that it had a "very good training programme" and Dr Chan's claims that trainees were unhappy were "pure fantasy".
Angus Moon QC, representing the trust, said: "What Dr Chan was doing was not making a bona-fide disclosure, he was stirring up trouble.
"It was part of a campaign. The real motive was to cause as much trouble as possible for the trust."
But representing Dr Chan, Michael Davey told the hearing that Dr Chan had repeatedly raised issues about training and the treatment of junior staff.
He said: "Dr Chan was motivated to get the results which were in the best interests of the department and the trainees.
"He might have rubbed people up the wrong way while he was going about it but that was not in bad faith. He saw what he perceived as wrong and called foul play".
A verdict is expected to be returned next week.