A surgeon who is suing Oxford University Hospitals Trust after being sacked for allegedly sexually harassing two trainee doctors, vehemently denied the allegations at a tribunal hearing in Reading today (Thursday).
The middle-aged surgeon, who cannot be named for legal reasons, took the Trust to tribunal for unfair dismissal, breach of contract, racial discrimination, sexual discrimination and breach of contract.
In his witness statement presented at the hearing, the surgeon denied touching one trainee doctor’s leg inappropriately and denied he attempted to arrange a dinner date with another at his flat.
The first alleged victim who can be named only as Doctor X, told a Trust disciplinary hearing which led to the surgeon’s dismissal, he had offered to meet her privately and cook dinner for her at his flat near to the hospital. She claimed he told her she must tell no-one about these ‘private meetings’ otherwise he would withdraw his support for her progress through the professional medical accreditation scheme for trainees - known as ARCP - which he was overseeing.
However the surgeon blamed the allegations on the fact she had ‘misunderstood and mis-remembered’ information because English is not his first language.
He said: “I consider misunderstandings are at the root of the allegations.
“Because of these disciplinary proceedings I have now become aware that I sometimes use English in a non-clinical context in a way which could result in misunderstandings.
“With the junior doctors I emphasised the importance of ARCP and the need to be firm with it. I said that I was on the ARCP panel and knew how to give them advice.
“Dr X was struggling with her work, she was shy and unassertive and took far longer on her ward rounds than her peers.
“I met Dr X for a first meeting as her Clinical Supervisor and offered to help because of the concerns about her performance.
“I told her I lived nearby so she could call me any time I was on call. I didn’t suggest we should have private time at my flat. I can only imagine this to be a misunderstanding.”
Dr X alleged the surgeon contacted her on her mobile phone on multiple occasions with texts, emails and a voicemail, but the surgeon said this was to offer to arrange a meeting to offer support and the original appeal hearing found these messages were not inappropriate.
The surgeon stated he believed Dr X’s motivation in making the allegations was her concern he was finding fault with her performance so wanted to transfer to a new supervisor with whom she had been working and with whom she was allegedly having a relationship.
Doctor Y alleged the surgeon had met with her on numerous occasions, brushed up against her in theatre and touched her on the leg during a radiology progress meeting, but the surgeon denied all these allegations stating he could not have been sitting next to Doctor Y at the meeting in question as he would have been sitting with another doctor inspecting scan results and the trainees would have been sitting some distance away.
He said: “I am forced to conclude that Doctor Y has knowingly falsified the evidence because it’s impossible that what she said happened and she changed her story when she realised the facts didn’t fit with what was actually possible.”
The surgeon told the court he believed the two doctors may have colluded when coming up with their allegations because they had at one point shared the same room at the hospital although they were not friends before this.
He admitted he had photocopied several pages of clinical notes and kept them at his home to prove he had not met Dr Y at the times she stated.
The surgeon claims the allegations were fabricated by the Trust as part of a move to force him out of his job amid budget cuts. The Trust refutes these allegations.
The final submissions in the case are expected to be made on Monday.