Sacked surgeon wins backing of tribunal

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An employment tribunal has ruled a top surgeon was unlawfully and wrongfully dismissed by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust over allegations of sexually harassing two junior doctors.

Judge A Gumbiti Zimuto ruled yesterday (Wednesday) that the surgeon – who cannot be named for legal reasons – should not have been dismissed after allegations which involved touching one doctor’s leg and inviting another to his flat for dinner, led to an internal inquiry by the Trust.

After an unsuccessful appeal, the surgeon took the Trust to tribunal for unlawful and wrongful dismissal.

In his ruling, the exact wording of which is still to be made public, Judge Zimuto states on the ‘balance of probability’ the surgeon did not commit the alleged offences.

Charles Crow, defending, told the tribunal the two doctors concerned, who can be named only as Dr X and Dr Y, may have colluded to concoct the allegations.

The surgeon stated he believed Dr X’s motivation 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.

In his statement to the tribunal the surgeon also claimed the allegations had been used by the Trust to remove him from his position because it believed he was a barrier to its planned restructuring at the hospital concerned. But when discussing these allegations and the original disciplinary hearing, tribunal judge A Gumbiti Zimuto, said: “I’m not sure the evidence presented supports a conclusion of what motivated the investigation.”

A spokesperson for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said yesterday (Wednesday): “We have received the decision of the Employment Tribunal. Clearly we are disappointed with the judgement and are considering our response.”

A remedy hearing will be held on October 20 to consider compensation.