Response from Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust could be chucked out of the Dr Chris Day whistleblower tribunal for ” scandalous and vexatious” behaviour “

Dr Chris Day

In yet another extraordinary dramatic development in the Chris Day whistleblower tribunal judge Anne Martin granted his lawyer Andrew Allen, QC to present a case to chuck out the defence against whistleblowing made by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

Chris Day said on his latest Crowdjustice update: “if successful [it]will prevent Lewisham and Greenwich providing any resistance or defence of my whistleblowing claim that they misled the press, MPs and the public about my whistleblowing case and how it settled.”

The tribunal held a preliminary hearing in private today with Mr Allen, Dr Chris and Melissa Day and Dan Tatton Brown, QC, for the trust, to decide whether a case for hearing the strike out of the trust’s case should go ahead.

A strike out – according to employment tribunal rules – is only possible on the grounds

a)   that it is scandalous or vexatious or has no reasonable prospect of success;

(b)     that the manner in which the proceedings have been conducted by or on behalf of the claimant or respondent (as the case may be) has been scandalous, unreasonable or vexatious;

(c)     for non-compliance with any of the Rules or with an order of the tribunal;

(d)     that it has not been actively pursued;

(e)     that the tribunal considers that it is no longer possible to have a fair hearing in respect of the claim or response (or the part to be struck out).

The judge , in a very short public session lasting little more than five minutes, announced Mr Allen would be presenting his case for a strike out at tomorrow’s hearing. She also said that the tribunal judges would reach a decision by 3.0pm tomorrow on whether to grant it.

She then said both sides could give their summing up next Tuesday and the judges would give their judgement later. A lot will depend on whether the strike out is successful.

No information has been given about what is behind this extraordinary dramatic turn around of events towards the end of the 15 day hearing.

But the trigger appears to be developments over last weekend when Capsticks, the trust’s solicitors, suddenly released a cache of emails showing that David Cocke, the trust’s communications director, had been copied in or communicated directly with senior doctors who Dr Day complained in 2013 and 2014 about patient safety caused by inadequate staffing at the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich. This was when Mr Cocke was preparing public statements in 2018 against Dr Day which Sir Norman Lamb, the health minister, described as “inaccurate, severely defamatory and deeply distressing to Dr Chris Day”.

The trust had always said there were no communications between the doctors who had responsibility for the intensive care unit at the hospital.

Judge orders Trust to search for more emails

The judge ordered the trust to conduct further searches for emails involving the doctors and the then director of workplace and education, Janet Lynch. It emerged today that the trust was still searching for some emails. Whatever was returned or what the exercise revealed appears to have triggered this request to strike out the trust’s response to Chris

Today should have been devoted to evidence given by David Cocke and further evidence from Dr Chris Day who was due to produce a fresh statement.

On the surface this looks bleak for the trust who have spent nearly £1m on lawyers and external clinical management consultants M J Roddis Associates fighting Dr Day for nearly nine years.

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