Whistleblower doctors fury over Roddis Associates suitability to run medical ethics courses for the Medical Defence Union

Doctors involved in high profile whistleblower cases have put in complaints to the Medical Defence Union over a day long virtual course in medical ethics run by a clinical management company that makes tens of thousands of pounds from NHS trusts challenging doctors who raise patient safety issues.

Tomorrow the MDU host a course run by Dr Mike Roddis of MJ Roddis Associates and Claire McLaughlan, who is also occasionally employed by M J Roddis, on medical ethics. I have already published a profile of Claire McLaughlan here.

Details of the course are here and the MDU is charging £249 a head (£149 for members) and it is already sold out.

The dispute over both Dr Mike Roddis and Claire McLaughlan involvement in the medical ethics issue comes from doctors who have been at the receiving end of reports written by both of them which are used by NHS health trusts to discredit whistleblowers at employment tribunal hearings. The work they do for trusts – in two recent cases – involve helping the trust to either downplay or dismiss the deaths of people in NHS hospitals.

This has led to highly critical letters going into the MDU from junior doctors and consultants including the Justice for Doctors organisation.

Dr Chris Day

One of the complainants is Dr Chris Day – currently awaiting the result of a tribunal covered by this blog into patient safety concerns at Woolwich Hospital, where two patients died in its intensive care unit because the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust ignored national staffing guidelines for intensive care units.

Dr Mike Roddis and Claire McLaughlan produced a report for the trust entirely ignoring this.

Dr Day says that he is shocked that the MDU is employing two investigators implicated in the cover up of his whistleblowing complaint to lecture on medical ethics. Their report was heavily criticised by Dr Megan Smith, a consultant anaesthetist and witness at Dr Day’s employment tribunal hearing in June.

Her statement is here and there is a report on my blog here. She told the tribunal:

“You would not find an anaesthetist or ICU doctor in the country who would accept those ratios. There was a clear and present danger to patient safety – no question about that.”

Dr Usha Prasad

Dr Usha Prasad, a former consultant cardiologist at Epsom and St Helier University NHS Trust, has written in similar terms to the MDU.

She wrote; “Claire Mclaughlan was the Chair of the internal appeal panel, hired by Epsom & St Helier Hosptial and her involvement including one sided conclusion was greatly damaging to my career…

“I am shocked to find that the MDU are using the very same investigator implicated in the cover up of whistleblowing cases. The MDU is using them to present a seminar on medical ethics of all topics which is very worrying. “

Her case, among other matters, involved the ” avoidable death” “of a cardiology patient at the hospital which was not reported to the coroner.

David Ward and Jane Somerville, two distinguished retired consultants have written to the MDU about both cases.

“We are retired physicians supporting NHS whistleblowers. We are aware of the MDU’s invitation to Roddis Associates and Claire McLaughlan to participate in a meeting on the subject of Medical Ethics. We are alarmed and dismayed to say the least.”

” Ms Claire McLaughlan was hired by St Helier Hospital Trust to undertake investigations and chair a Maintaining High Professional Standards (MHPS) hearing for Dr Usha Prasad. The outcome, published in June 2020, recommended her dismissal from the NHS Hospital where she had been working as a consultant cardiologist for over a decade (and with numerous plaudits from patients and administrators). 

“Some spurious and non-legal reasons were included in Ms McLaughlan’s written judgement recommending dismissal (these are the subject of an 3 inquiries which we have referred to the to the Ministry of Justice, the Tribunals President Barry Clarke and to the National Medical Director, Sir Stephen Powis). Given what we know about the conduct of these companies who claim to “help” doctors, we are extremely concerned about their ability to present meaningful, honest and understandable concepts in Medical Ethics.”

Justice for Doctors complains to MDU

The organisation Justice for Doctors has also complained to the MDU. A letter from doctors Salam-al- Sam and Azhar Ansari said:

“We learned to our disbelief that the MDU has invited Claire McLaughlan to talk about the subject of medical ethics at a shortly coming meeting.

“We write to express our serious concerns supported by more than 100 members of a group of doctors and other professionals known as Justice for Doctors. Many members were victims of those who made a fortune from NHS money by destroying the livelihood and reputation of intelligent, hardworking, and committed doctors simply because they did not remain silent when witnessing bad practices, bullying, fraud, and similar despicable acts on the NHS premises. Roddis Associates and Claire McLaughlan were hired for a fee originating from taxpayers which is supposed to be used for patient care to complete the acts of abusers of power in our NHS.  We and members of Justice for Doctors urge you to reconsider your plan and ask you not to encourage such individuals to spoil the reputation of your good offices.”

The MDU did not wish to comment on the letters.

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