The BMA has won more than £3 million compensation for a doctor who was unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing.
In January of last year, a Tribunal heard how Dr Rosalind Ranson was unfairly dismissed from her role as Medical Director on the Isle of Man, after she had urged the Manx Government to depart from Public Health England advice in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, which eventually it did.
Dr Ranson was dismissed after she raised a number of serious concerns, which included whether the then Chief Executive, who was not medically qualified, was passing on her advice to Ministers.
Dr Ranson had also raised serious concerns about patient safety and governance matters. As a consequence, she was unfairly dismissed from her role - a role which she had taken up in 2020 to oversee a reorganisation of health services on the island and subsequently to provide expert medical advice and guidance on how the health system should respond to the pandemic.
Dr Ranson said:
“This has been a traumatic few years. Doing my job to the best of my ability and fulfilling my professional obligations, meant that I personally paid a huge price. For me it is a tragedy that my 35-year career in medicine has come to an end through these circumstances. I was proud of my professional integrity, my resilience, and my strength to stand up for those that I protected through my work as a doctor. I had so much more to give and so much more that I wanted to achieve, but those hopes are at an end.
“My health has suffered, my reputation destroyed, my career shattered. I have lost my belief in essential human kindness because I have seen that the default position for many people was to protect their own personal interests, regardless of the consequences. When this behaviour extends to those who hold the most powerful of positions and in whom the public place their trust, then consequences must flow, action is needed, and the outcome of my Tribunal Hearing must not be the end.
“Whistleblowing has the power to stop, prevent and avoid wrongdoing, prevent harm, and save lives. These opportunities were not just lost at the time but the failures to act on all the concerns I raised have to date achieved none of these things. Wrongdoing has gone unchallenged; harm has occurred not just to me but to others and I believe that there was avoidable loss of life.”
Tina Wisener and Kate Kapp of Doyle Clayton who were appointed by the BMA to represent Dr Ranson said:
“The sum awarded to Dr Ranson reflects not only the career damaging treatment she was subjected to, but also the unreasonable way in which the [Isle of Man] DHSC conducted the litigation which, the Tribunal found, included more than one ‘false allegation’ about her. She has been awarded sums for aggravated and exemplary damages, both of which are exceptionally rare. As noted by the Tribunal, these awards were made due to the DHSC’s ‘high handed, malicious, insulting and oppressive manner’ during the course of the litigation and were ‘warranted for [their] oppressive, arbitrary and unconstitutional behaviour’. We praise the courage of Dr Ranson in raising these issues. Whistleblowing is not about personal gain, it is about exposing unethical behaviour and reporting it, often suffering professionally and personally as a result, as Dr Ranson has. We hope that some good will follow from this case.”
It is the single largest win for a whistleblowing case for the BMA and the Employment and Equality Tribunal also awarded 70% of legal costs for an element of the proceedings due to the behaviours of the Manx Government. An award for costs is far from the norm and has been awarded because of the “gross misconduct” of the Isle of Man Department of Health and Social Care. The Tribunal found that the DHSC “fought tooth and nail…on a false basis to the substantial detriment of Dr Ranson and at the expense of taxpayers on the Isle of Man”.
Notes to editors
The summary of the judgment on the first page reads as follows: “The unanimous Decision of the Tribunal is that Dr Ranson is entitled to be compensated for being unfairly dismissed due to her protected disclosures and is awarded compensation (gross) in the total sum of £3,198,754.00. Additionally, the DHSC must pay 70% of Dr Ranson’s costs”
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.