Whistleblower doctor wins £1.2mn in damages over false ‘sex pervert’ accusations by hospital bosses
National Health Service (NHS) bosses falsely accused a cardiologist-turned-whistleblower of being a rapist and sexual pervert after he complained about patient overcrowding in his hospital.
Doctor Raj Mattu said he was humiliated by the smear campaign launched against him by managers at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
The once internationally famed doctor won £1.22 million in damages on February 4 after a 15-year legal battle. Birmingham Employment Tribunal ruled that he was a whistleblower who had been “subjected to detriments” and that he had been unfairly dismissed.
Despite the large payout, Mattu told the Daily Mail he is still £200,000 in debt after racking up enormous legal fees.
In an interview with the newspaper, Mattu described the bullying as an attempt to silence him.
“Short of accusing me of being a terrorist, anything they could think to throw at me they did — rape, sexual assault, fraud, tax evasion. I was investigated three times in four years by the Inland Revenue. The most hurtful allegations were the ones that made me out to be a sexual pervert. I had no idea at the time what was being said about me. The charges were never put to me.
“It wasn’t until many years later when documents were released to me during litigation that I discovered the trust had held secret meetings with the [General Medical Council] during which they’d made these unforgivable claims. The GMC began to investigate these allegations [through] the police.
“In the end the West Midlands police got so fed up with the GMC inquiries they said: ‘There are no crime reference numbers, no reports. As far as we’re concerned, there is no incident. Why don’t you simply ask the doctor?’ To this day I have not been provided with any details of these fabricated sexual attacks. When I received these documents from the GMC shortly before they decided there was no case against me to answer in 2009, my heart sank. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.”
Mutta was initially suspended in February 2002 on trumped-up charges of bullying, just months after he spoke to the BBC about the dangers of overcrowding.
His campaign against overcrowding was sparked by two deaths in his ward which he says were avoidable. Months later, then hospital chief executive David Loughton spoke on the news, rejecting a report by the Commission of Health Improvement (CHI) that warned overcrowding was dangerous.
“I almost choked on my tea,” Dr Mattu said.
“I wrote to the Strategic Health Authority saying: Will you please intervene.”
Mattu was suspended from the NHS for five-and-a-half-years, and was only reinstated after successfully winning a High Court case in 2008.
However his victory was short lived. In 2010, the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust dismissed the cardiologist for refusing to sign an agreement to withdraw from research reskilling.
Mattu, whose health had deteriorated as a result of the stress, was in the hospital recovering from an operation when he was sacked by a disciplinary hearing.
He claims he could not have survived the past six years without the support of his wife, Sangeeta.
“I am not sure I could have survived this without Sangeeta’s love,” Mattu said.
“Lots of women would have walked away years ago and I wouldn’t have blamed them, but she’s been there for me.”
“When I think of all she’s had to sacrifice. She should be a mum,” he told the Mail.