Doctor settles lengthy libel action

Five year suspension ends as NHS Trust make unreserved apology

A talented junior doctor who was suspended from work for nearly five years has won an apology from Cambridgeshire health officials.

The doctor, who can be referred to only as “Z” for legal reasons, was born with a serious and life-threatening condition which attracted interest from medical researchers. Having complained about breaches of patient confidentiality after her medical details were widely circulated for research use at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, the doctor was placed on special leave and her fitness to practice was questioned.

Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) apologised in the High Court, stating that the claims about Z’s fitness to practice were “groundless and unfounded” and allegations that she was dishonest were “baseless.” A further allegation that Z had been mistaken when she claimed details of her medical condition were held on a database was also withdrawn.

Accepting that Z should not have been placed on special leave, the PCT told Mr Justice Eady that it had been “wholly misled” by details provided by a third party. 

Z, who acted as a litigant in person, said in a statement: “Being excluded from work for five years has curtailed my promising career and has caused absolute devastation to both my professional and personal life and to my family.”

5RB‘s Richard Parkes QC advised Z from time to time during her lengthy legal battle.