From the speech of Mr Peter Bottomley – Queen’s Debate 25th May 2010
“Instead of just processing constituents’ problems, we actually need to care about them. If the answers we get are inadequate, we need to be persistent. One of the nicest tributes ever paid to me came from John Sentamu, the current Archbishop of York, who described me in terms of “veni, vidi, velcro”-he comes, he sees and he sticks to it. One thing I am going to stick to-let me send out a warning, or rather an invitation to Ministers to co-operate-is seeing how many NHS consultants have been dismissed on grounds of breaking data protection rules.
I heard about a case from a doctor in my constituency whom I enormously respect, although it is about someone who is not in my constituency. I think that it was the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) who spoke about diabetes and the special needs of people with south Asian backgrounds. The consultant I am talking about knew that diabetes could be treated not only in hospital, but by educating people and helping them to change their lifestyles. She decided to get a project going under the primary care trust-part of the NHS and where confidentiality is supposed to be involved-and invited 80 such patients to participate. She sent out a list of names and addresses from herself in hospital to herself as part of the PCT-funded project, which had been approved by everybody, and she got sacked. It is difficult to understand quite why. The hospital trust that sacked her referred her to the Information Commissioner’s Office, as if she had committed a criminal offence, and to the General Medical Council, which has still not got around to deciding whether there is a case to look into.
I want to arrange a meeting with the people who run the employment tribunal, which found that she may have been wrongfully dismissed but not unfairly dismissed. They should be put in the same room with employment tribunal experts, the Information Commissioner’s experts, the General Medical Council’s experts, the hospital trust and preferably someone from the very top of the NHS as well as a Minister.
Let us get it out into the open why a doctor who cares so much about her patients that she is willing to go the extra mile should get thrown on the scrap heap for doing something that someone else did not like.
I have been invited to the Biobank. I shall be attending for a three-hour session at Croydon. It wrote to me asking whether I would like to take part. I do not see the difference between that and someone being asked to come to a specialist education clinic for diabetes. I am going to be persistent on this issue. Until we get some kind of explanation and some kind of justice, I and others will be right to continue to do so.”
Dr Shireen Boardman