Injunction against Disciplinary Hearing
Dr X was a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who, following the instigation of a Maintaining High Professional Standards (MHPS) investigation was excluded from all clinical duties. They came to us after six months of being excluded as they felt the support they were receiving from an alternative MDO was not sufficient. On review of the matter, we identified a number of failings made by the Trust in relation to the adherence to the MHPS policy, categorisation of the concerns raised and, as the matter was of a clinical nature, a failure to obtain independent clinical advice as part of the MHPS investigation.
MDS ADVICE & OUTCOME
The Trust were seeking to take Dr X to a disciplinary hearing under the incorrect categorisation of the concerns which could have resulted in Dr X’s dismissal. In light of the Trust’s intentions, we advised Dr X to apply for an injunction to prevent the Trust from continuing on with a manifestly flawed investigation and subsequent inappropriate disciplinary hearing.
A trial was held at High Court resulting in the judge ruling in Dr X’s favour. Soole, J held that the breaches of contractual disciplinary procedure arising out of the manner in which the MHPS investigation had been conducted by the Trust were “of such materiality that it would be wrong for the matter to proceed to a disciplinary hearing on the existing basis”.
It is of paramount importance to obtain advice from your defence organisation as soon as possible, should concerns be raised against you. Although Trusts have their own disciplinary policies which will set out how disciplinary procedures will proceed, this needs to be complied with in conjunction with the main MHPS policy. If this is not done, action can be taken to ensure it is adhered to.