Supporters of Winchester consultant 'sacked for whistleblowing' protest outside employment tribunal

Martyn Pitman worked at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and says he lost his job after whistleblowing due to concerns about patient safety. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Supporters of a consultant, who was sacked by the NHS in Winchester, have been protesting outside his employment tribunal.

Martyn Pitman was an obstetrician and gynaecologist in the NHS for more than 20 years and worked at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and the Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

He says he lost his job after whistleblowing due to concerns about patient safety.

He battled to take his case to a tribunal which started yesterday (25 September) after losing an appeal against his dismissal in May 2023.

The tribunal heard about accusations that Martyn Pitman bullied and intimidated staff.

He said he categorically denies that, adding he "despises" bullying.

The tribunal is due to last for up to 3 weeks.

Some of his former patients said his more than 30 years of experience in the NHS saved their lives or their babies. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Since his sacking, the consultant has received widespread support through a Facebook group called 'Friends of Martyn Pitman' which has 1700 members.

Outside the tribunal at Southampton Magistrates Court, his friends, former patients and colleagues all showed their support.

Mr Pitman said: "It's been incredible. It's been incredibly humbling after pretty much five years of professional isolation. I am so grateful to Lynda and the other guys for setting this up and being here today, whatever the outcome, to know I've got this level of support."

Former patient, Lynda Emptage said: "We started the Facebook group six months ago, which has taken on a life of its own. A lot of people in the group were asking what can we do, and how can we support him.

"A lot of them have turned up today to show that support and make their feelings known as far as the trust is concerned, that we think they've made a really terrible mistake."

Another supporter, Lorraine Edwards said: "He has never had any incompetence claims against him. He's never been found negligent... He's never had a bad review and why would somebody be fired if actually, they hadn't done anything wrong? It has all come down to that actually he's whistleblown because of the safety element."

His supporters also include the Broadchurch, actress Sarah Parish, who previously told ITV News Meridian he saved her life.

Mr Pitman described the decision to uphold his dismissal as "crushing" and feared it may stop doctors speaking about concerns in the future. Credit: ITV News Meridian

In a previous statement, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told ITV News Meridian: "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."

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