The Times Law
An NHS whistleblower has been awarded £2.5 million in compensation after he was sacked when he raised concerns about patients dying at a Coventry hospital.
Raj Mattu, 54, a cardiologist, claimed that overcrowded heart wards at the former Walsgrave Hospital had led to patient deaths.
An employment tribunal in Birmingham ruled that he had suffered after making allegations against University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, and had been unfairly dismissed. A claim of race discrimination was rejected.
Dr Mattu was suspended on full pay for eight years, before being sacked in 2010. He raised concerns in 2001 that the practice of putting five patients in bays equipped for four had led to at least two deaths.
He spoke to the BBC after the trust failed to respond to his concerns, and claimed that he was then the victim of a “witch hunt” that led to him being suspended.
The trust spent an estimated £14 million defending Dr Mattu’s claim. Freedom of information requests submitted by his lawyer revealed it had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on a PR agency to try to protect its reputation and on private investigators.
The trust was ordered to pay £1.22 million net in compensation, as well as Dr Mattu’s income tax and national insurance bill, likely to be about £1.3 million.
Dr Mattu said that it was impossible to resume his medical career after more than a decade out of clinical practice and he was planning to become a science teacher.
He said: “I was only in my 40s when my whole future was taken away from me.”
The tribunal heard that the trust made more than 200 allegation against Dr Mattu to the GMC, all of which were rejected.
The trust said it was relieved the case was over.