Walsall bible-quotes doctor loses sacking appeal

Dr David Drew Dr David Drew said the prayer was an "excuse" to sack him after he raised concerns over cost cutting

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A doctor who was sacked after emailing Bible quotes to colleagues has lost a tribunal appeal.

Dr David Drew, a former clinical director at Walsall Manor Hospital, was dismissed in December 2010.

His appeal against unfair dismissal and religious discrimination was rejected by an employment tribunal.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said it welcomed the verdict, but regretted the case had gone as far as the tribunal.

The appeal on Saturday backed an original decision, rejecting his religious discrimination claims, made by a hearing in April 2012.

Internal review

Dr Drew, a consultant paediatrician from Sutton Coldfield, said he had been told in 2009 to keep his beliefs to himself after including prayers and Christian references in emails.

He was originally suspended for six weeks in April 2009 after a nurse raised a grievance, claiming he had undermined her.

However, an internal review at the hospital found there was "no case to answer" over misconduct, but recommended he not use Christian references in professional correspondence.

Dr Drew however, claimed wrongful suspension and an independent review was carried out by the Royal College of Paediatrics.

He said much of the college's subsequent report was suppressed by the hospital trust because of criticism of its handling of certain aspects of the case.

It did however, back a ruling on his use of religious language in a professional setting.

After he "circulated a small part of it to a small number of consultants" Dr Drew said he was "accused of insubordination".

He said he was then offered a six-figure sum to leave with a good reference if he signed a gagging clause, but refused and was taken to a trust disciplinary hearing and sacked.

Dr Drew said that decision was actually due to his role as a whistleblower after he used the Bible quotes to raise concerns over a "massive cost cutting exercise".

'Trouble-making'

"The [St Ignatius prayer] email was a personal email sent to consultant paediatricians, to doctors, to six or seven people at the most," he said.

"We were running through a particular difficult issue with job plans... I know them all really well.

"They were of different faiths and no faiths.

"It's the one that just basically says 'we're here to serve, we're not here to get more money out of our contracts', and they all without exception either wrote back to me or said that is a lovely idea.

"The complaints actually came about this... from two managers who didn't even receive the prayer, so it was trouble-making."

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: "As a trust we actively encourage and support our staff to raise an issue if they are concerned about patient care."

The trust said it was "satisfied with the outcome of the case".

"The judgement of the employment tribunal and the employment appeals tribunal is that Dr Drew's claims have been dismissed," a spokesperson said.

"However, we would like to reiterate that this case did not question Dr Drew's skills as a paediatric consultant and on behalf of the trust would like to say that we regret that the situation had to get to the tribunal stage."

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