NHS consultant sacked by Winchester hospital says it marks the 'end of his career'

  • ITV News Meridian's Derek Johnson spoke to Martyn Pitman following his dismissal

A consultant who was sacked by the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester says he is "certain it represents the end" of his career.

Martyn Pitman has been an obstetrician and gynaecologist in the NHS for more than 20 years.

Mr Pitman claims he was dismissed for being a whistleblower but Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says it "actively encourages staff to speak up".

Mr Pitman said: "My concerns were about midwifery staffing levels, deteriorating midwifery morale, the loss of some of what I felt were our most experienced and most valued midwives, high absenteeism rate of midwives through sickness, and the fact that on a daily basis we were being expected to cover our clinical service with far fewer midwives than were recommended to provide a safe level of care.

"I was doing what I thought was the appropriate thing to do and never for one minute dreamt that it would end up in threatening and end up terminating my career.

"It's been a devastating end to a really traumatic and difficult four year period.

"Having worked so hard in the city where I was born, was educated, grew up and undertook part of my training was the proudest day of my professional career, and it's taken me to the darkest places that I could ever imagine."

Martyn Pitman has been an obstetrician and gynaecologist in the NHS for more than 20 years.

More than 1,000 patients, colleagues and friends have joined a group calling for him to be re-instated.

Lynda Emptage was a patient of Martyn's for 20 years and was so upset about news of his dimissal, she started a Facebook group calling for an inquiry into what happened.

Mr Pitman's supporters claim he lost his job after raising safety concerns about getting electrocuted from a piece of equipment in the operating theatre three years ago.

On Thursday, his dismissal was upheld by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Martyn has described the decision to uphold his dismissal as "crushing" and fears the decision could prevent other doctors for speaking up about concerns in the future.

Mr Martyn Pitman said: "As an experienced, skilled and dedicated doctor, who has had the privilege of caring for countless patients over the past 30 years, it is devastating to realise that my dismissal from the Trust signals the end of my cherished career.

"Throughout my 20 years of being a consultant at the Hampshire Hospitals Trust I have made so many sacrifices to the benefit of both the Trust and the patients that I have been clinically responsible for – during a career dedicated to provision of safe, patient-focused and evidence-based care. 

"The decision to uphold my dismissal is crushing. It also poses a potential direct threat to patient and staff safety by setting a very worrying precedent for other doctors and members of staff who may now be too afraid to speak out when they have legitimate concern or believe something is wrong, for fear of the consequences."

Mr Pitman claims he was dismissed for being a whistleblower.

Among those rallying behind Mr Pitman is Broadchurch actress Sarah Parish who credits Martyn with saving not only her life, but also her daughter Nell's life.

Another supporter is Mel Smart, who is one of the hundreds of patients treated by Mr Pitman.

She said: "He was responsible for saving my life. I don't know how you can thank someone for letting them be a mother to their children."

A spokesperson at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust actively encourages staff to speak up when they have concerns, and takes all complaints, including grievances and whistleblowing, extremely seriously. Each is handled impartially, professionally and in line with robust policies.

"In certain cases, this includes the commissioning of independent reports/reviews by outside experts to ensure the highest levels of scrutiny.

"In addition, every effort is made to support the health and wellbeing of those involved in what can be a challenging process.

"No member of staff has ever been dismissed as a result of whistleblowing or raising concerns around patient safety.

"Unfortunately we are unable to comment further at this time due to ongoing processes."

In an email seen by ITV News, the BMA and Mr Pitman’s legal team are now considering the next steps whilst continuing with preparations for an ongoing whistleblowing claim in the Employment Tribunal later this year.