A Coventry whistleblower heart surgeon has received a prestigious award after a lengthy legal battle with the NHS.
Dr Raj Mattu, of Radford, recently won a £ 1.22million unfair dismissal case against University Hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust – 14 years after he was first suspended from his consultancy work heart disease at Walsgrave Hospital.
Now he has also received the UK Whistleblowing Prize 2016 from Blueprint, a free speech charity.
Dr Mattu has been suspended from his £ 70,000 a year role after exposing the cases of two patients he said died in overcrowded wards at Coventry Hospital.
A court ruled that Dr Mattu had been targeted by his former employers after making accusations against the Trust.
He alleged that his complaints were ignored about the way patients were treated by the Trust.
He claimed five patients were placed in a room designed for four on an occasion which he said resulted in the death of one of them.
Another patient also died in another overcrowded ward, he alleged.
The Trust has consistently denied the allegations and opposed its legal claims.
Dr Mattu told the hearing that he was vilified and intimidated following the disclosure of the accusations.
The lengthy legal battle is estimated to have cost the NHS more than £ 11million in total.
In honor of Dr Mattu, a statement on the Blueprint website read: ‘The case of Dr Mattu is particularly egregious and demonstrates the ferocity of the NHS in its attempts to prevent public interest disclosures from being made to them. against.
“This case culminated with the Francis inquiry which condemned the ‘shocking’ mistreatment of whistleblowers within the system.
‘This case has sent a strong message that the NHS must focus on providing patient care, listen to its senior executives – including those like Dr Mattu – and stop wasting public money on what could easily being described as ‘saving face’ by seniors. executives. “
Junior doctors recently went on strike at the CHU
Receiving the award, Dr Mattu said, “Emotionally it has been very exhausting. I have mixed feelings about the judgment. I am relieved to have won the case, I am also happy that my prejudices were recognized by the labor court.
“But the saddest thing about all of this for me is that the people who have lost the most are the patients and the public because for 13 years trust management kept me from caring for the patients.
“They also, in the way they treated me, discouraged any other NHS whistleblowers from coming forward and risking having their careers and livelihoods destroyed.”
How the events unfolded
• In 2001, Dr Mattu exposed the cases of two patients who he said died in crowded bays at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry.
• In February 2002, The Telegraph reported that Dr Mattu had been suspended by the trust amid allegations of intimidation.
• In 2004, an NHS review found confidence in responsibility for any deaths from overcrowding.
• The Walsgrave Hospital was demolished and replaced by the University Hospital in 2006.
• In July 2007, Dr Mattu was allowed to return to work, but only after a retraining.
• In March 2009, the General Medical Council cleared him of the intimidation allegations.
• Dr Mattu was finally fired in 2010.
• In April 2014, an employment tribunal ruled that Dr Mattu had been unjustly dismissed from the trust.