This post concerns a sequence of events that concerned an ARCP process when I was at Lewisham and Greenwich and was due to rotate to Guy’s and St Thomas in the summer of 2014. At the ARCP a whistleblowing disclosure about  made by me about a situation that had developed from at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

The details of the whistleblowing and it has been misrepresented can be read here.

ARCP 3 June 2014

At the conclusions of my ARCP I made a whistleblowing disclosure about the situation in the relevant ICU at night and made reference to the 2 SUIs and the adverse response I had received at the Trust. The ARCP panel took the situation seriously and were receptive to the issues.

Quite separately, I received an outcome 5 for reasonable reasons and by the 11 June 2014 HEE recorded on my Eportfolio,

“Has made good progress since ARCP” (uploaded audit and passed MCEM (a) day after ARCP) and “Clear plan to achieve outstanding assessments by the ends of the month.”

ARCP Record 5 June 2014

I then found that allegations were recorded in my ARCP that I have personal and professional issues and that I do not engage with supervision. These were not discussed with me at the time. This surprised me as my Eportffolio was unanimously positive in particular my clinical supervisor reports.

See evidence for this here

The rest of June 2014

I made 3 written requests for the ARCP allegations to be removed or explained. HEE ignored the substance of the communication and refused to remove or explain the ARCP record. Only after trade union pressure and legal process did HEE accept that the ARCP record was inappropriate and the refusal to explain the document unreasonable. This took them 6 months to accept my ARCP record inappropriate.

As my letters were not being dealt with, I made clear to HEE that I would not be signing another contract at another Trust until the allegations had been explained or removed or there had been a formal investigation. By June the situation had been escalating within senior management at Lewisham and Greenwich since January 2014.

Early July 2014

I emailed one of the ARCP panellists. They confirmed they agreed with my protected disclosure, that I was confident and professional when raising them with the panel. They stated that they could not explain the false allegations on my ARCP record. However, they did inform me that a Deputy Director from the Trust had unplanned contact with the ARCP panel and that they were disheartened by what they said about me (whatever that means).

Early July Contact with Guy’s and St Thomas

I was due to rotate to Guy’s and St Thomas. When Guy’s and St Thomas contacted me to make arrangements, I let them know I was in a dispute with the Deanery and that I was essentially being refused any mechanism to resolve it. Guy’s were helpful and sent me the HEE formal complaint policy which had clear timescales and methods that would bind HEE to deal properly with my complaint. Had this policy been followed things would have resolved in time to rotate to Guy’s.

HEE Suspension of Formal Complaint Policy

Once I sent to HEE their complaint policy (that Guy’s had sent me), I was informed the policy had been suspended for review and could no longer be used. Guy’s then made a request in July 2014 for me to resign from HEE to allow them to replace me if did not intend to rotate (due to the dispute with HEE).

I formed a view that I did not want this situation hanging over me at a new Trust and so told Guy’s that I would not be agreeing to a new HEE placement until there had been a proper formal process by HEE. Guy’s quite reasonably (in my view) said they could not source a replacement doctor unless I resigned from HEE. I emailed HEE to resign from HEE as a result of this request and HEE’s refusal to progress a formal complaint. It was obvious I was not giving up on my career but stating I was not going to accept this situation going on any longer without a formal process.

BMA Support

I contacted the BMA and then in August 2014 the case passed a merits assessment for whistleblowing detriment claims against HEE and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. On 2 September 2014, there was a formal meeting between me, the BMA and the HEE Post Graduate Dean. The BMA insisted on formal investigations and informed HEE that they had instructed lawyers on my behalf and made explicit reference to Tribunal claims with whistleblowing law.

HEE did not act on my email of July 2014 resigning( prompted by Guy’s and St Thomas’ position). Following pressure from the BMA, HEE’s Post Graduate Dean, deleted my National Training Number on the 10 September 2014. This occurred;

The deletion of my National Training Number on 10 September 2014 is what HEE have to explain. It was clearly an angry response to the following.

(i) After a letter I sent to the Dean dated 7 September 2014, summarising my understanding of the situation, challenging unfair conditions being placed on future employment and reaching out again for resolution of the situation. My letter starts with the words “ Thank you very much indeed for the meeting on the 2nd September 2014. It was a pleasure to meet you” and ends with the words, “I have not given up on seeking a resolution to this situation and I am grateful for your input in navigating this difficult scenario”. This letter is clearly not me confirming my July 2014 resignation.

You can read the letter here

(ii) An email to HEE from the BMA (on the same day that the NTN was deleted) containing a legal threat of whistleblowing claims and also severely criticising HEE’s investigation of my ARCP. The BMA sent a further email criticising the deletion of my National Training Number on 8 October 2014.

The decisions I take fully responsibility for

Stating to HEE in June 2014 that I will not be signing a new HEE employment contract at another Trust until allegations from HEE that I considered false were explained and formally investigated. (I did however continue in my enjoyable anaesthetic placement at Lewisham and Greenwich)

Following Guy’s request to resign from HEE to assist them in finding a replacement doctor

Agreeing to the BMA making legal threats on 2 and 10 September 2014 on my behalf to get the situation resolved.

The key point is that I was clearly entitled to have these issues heard in a Tribunal in 2015. Instead, HEE argued the nation’s doctors out of whistleblowing protection to stop the case being heard and then engaged in further legal conduct that has brought us to where we are in 2022.