Publication of avoidable death scandal at Epsom and St Helier University Health Trust leads to another relative coming forward and queries about a former senior staff member in Jersey
An employment judge has thrown out Dr Usha Prasad’s whistleblowing case and all her allegations of victimisation, sex harassment, and sex and race discrimination.
She is also facing a costs claim of an astounding £150,000 plus VAT via the law firm Capsticks from the Epsom and St Helier University Health Trust.
A letter from Capsticks says: ” The Respondent has incurred very substantial costs indeed in defending the unmeritorious proceedings, of in excess of £150,000 plus VAT. The costs incurred correlate to the Claimant’s unreasonable conduct and the unmeritorious nature of her complaints.”
Judge Tony Hyams-Parish’s judgement is long on the detail of all the various top management’s moves against Dr Prasad which led to an unprecedented 28 month suspension from clinical duties and remarkably short on any evidence given by her and her witnesses. He exonerates the actions of the senior management and ignores claims by any of her witnesses. And given he goes into such detail it is rather surprising he doesn’t mention that Daniel Elkeles, the former chief executive of the trust, offered to abandon the internal disciplinary proceedings against her if she dropped the tribunal case against the trust.
Indeed the most twisted part of his judgement is what he leaves out. Take the issue of the GMC revalidation of Dr Prasad. This is his purple passage:
“The Tribunal was invited to consider was the outcome of the claimant’s hearing before the GMC. The GMC began an investigation into the claimant which concluded in March 2021 with no further action to be taken. The claimant continued to state throughout this hearing that she had been exonerated by the GMC, suggesting that their conclusion must cast doubt on the actions and motivations of the respondent. However, the Tribunal found it difficult to draw any such conclusions from the GMC outcome. The Tribunal was not shown the content of the GMC referral or the case examiner’s report. Whilst the GMC and the respondent were looking at the same cases, their remits were likely to be quite different. In any event, the Tribunal was not shown sufficient evidence to decide either way.”
Really? The GMC judgement was entirely based on a list of 43 complaints submitted by the trust and obviously the trust expected it to be endorsed by the GMC. Instead it was sent to very experienced cardiologist in Middlesbrough who had worked at Papworth Hospital and he could not find anything wrong. And not only was this finding approved by the GMC, they revalidated her – taking away the power of the trust to do this. Given many doctors feel they are not well treated by the GMC, this was a remarkable outcome. The GMC was telling the trust to get stuffed.
The second area is the glossing over of the main whistleblowing claim. It centred around the avoidable death of a 76 year old man, Mr P, from heart failure, partly caused by negligence, muddle and poor communication at the trust. Dr Usha Prasad, who had no part in the care of the patient, was asked to review the case as an independent person. Evidence was given that an attempt was made to get Dr Prasad to rewrite her findings which included that the death should have been reported to the coroner and the Care Quality Commission. At the hearing Dr Richard Bogle, former head of the cardiology department, admitted that this should have been done – basically saying Usha Prasad’s judgement was right.
But this has been airbrushed from the judgement. If I hadn’t been there to report the case, no one would be the wiser that this happened.
Judge Tony Hyams-Parish disrespectful to dead man’s family
Not only to do I find this a gross omission but in my view the judge is being disrespectful to the man’s family by removing the details of the whistleblowing case. It is though he is thinking so what, a 76 year old dies, who cares?
But Judge Hyams-Parish knows he is on solid ground to ignore all this. He has already told Usha Prasad there is no recording or transcript of the proceedings, and his judges’ notes will never be released. So his judgement is the only record. And it is criminal offence if anyone has a recording.
Judgement a stain on British justice
My view is that this judgement is a stain on British justice which is supposed to be the epitome of ” fair play” and full transparency.
Instead it appears to me to more akin to Russian and Chinese justice .Here there is a semblance of justice but the result is a foregone conclusion. What appears in this case is the forces of the Establishment have been marshalled to intimidate and destroy an individual for the benefit of state power.
One good result of the publicity is that a relative of another person who died at St Helier hospital has come forward to me to investigate their case. And what happened at St Helier seems to have been picked up in Jersey, where this blog has a small circulation, and queries are being raised about a former senior manager at St Helier.
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