Personal Views

Whistleblowing or professional assassination

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 06 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1756

In the light of recent publicity over whistleblowing and disputes among consultants and against the background of the General Medical Council's performance procedures my own experience may be of interest.

A short time ago I was forced to stop work at the hospital where I had been consultant for 18 years. My professional competence was challenged by two colleagues, primarily on the basis of a small number of clinical cases that had been under my care during the previous five years. I was completely unaware of the concerns about my professional conduct until they were passed to the trust executive. I had, however, been aware of the enmity towards me. I was immediately forbidden any contact with patients and I spent a humiliating two and a half months at home, interspersed with frantic trips to the Medical Defence Union in Manchester. My reputation at the hospital was being damaged and there was a constant fear of misrepresentation in the press. I lost weight, could not sleep, and my family also suffered.

Finally, came exoneration. No prima facie case was established against me and it …

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