A medical director unfairly dismissed by her employer after whistleblowing on safety concerns related to COVID-19, has been awarded more than £3m by an employment tribunal.
Rosalind Ranson, who was removed from her role as medical director for the Isle of Man’s DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) following months of ‘humiliation, bullying, harassment and vilification’, has been told by the island’s Employment and Equality Tribunal that she will receive almost £3.2m in compensation.
In its judgement from 9 May 2022, the tribunal determined that Dr Ranson had been subjected to bullying and harassment by her colleagues before being dismissed from her role as the island’s medical director after she had raised concerns with the island’s approach to the pandemic.
In its decision on compensation published on 3 May this year, Dr Ranson, who was supported in her case by the BMA, will also see 70 per cent of the legal costs incurred on the liability stage of the hearing covered by the Isle of Man DHSC.
A former GP Dr Ranson had also served as national professional adviser for the Care Quality Commission and as a council member of the GMC during her 35-year career.
She had been appointed as the Isle of Man’s DHSC medical director in 2020 and had been tasked with overseeing a reorganisation of the island’s health services, with a view to her ultimately heading up a then upcoming health body Manx Care.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Dr Ranson voiced a number of serious concerns over the island’s approach to the virus, in particular advising the Manx government to depart from advice issued by Public Health England which she saw as inappropriate to the island’s needs.
After speaking out on issues relating to patient safety and governance matters, Dr Ranson found herself being subjected to vindictive and demeaning actions by a number of her colleagues, before being told in December 2020 that she would not be receiving the medical director job with Manx Care.
Responding to the tribunal’s award decision, 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.’
She added: ‘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.’
BMA council chair Philip Banfield said the size of the compensation awarded to Dr Ranson illustrated the significant extent to which her professional and personal life had been decimated by the actions of her former employer.
He said: ‘The amount awarded demonstrates the extent to which the establishment not only tried to stop Dr Ranson from raising legitimate concerns, but the lengths they went to, to end her career and attempt to discredit her.
‘The BMA is proud to have stood with Dr Ranson. The impact of this case will be felt across the UK and we will help other doctors to stand up and speak out where there is clinical concern or wrongdoing wherever we can.’
Read the full judgement