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Indian-origin surgeon’s suspension costs NHS a million pounds

London: Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has spent almost one million pound (about $1.5 million) to keep an Indian-origin surgeon off work since 2011, a media report said.

Liver surgeon Dr Ditya Agrawal was sent home on full pay in 2011 after he raised patient safety concerns at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust hospital in Staffordshire, England, the Mirror reported on Saturday.

Since Agrawal’s suspension, the trust has paid at least 250,000 pounds fighting the surgeon’s complaint that he was unfairly treated — and has spent more than 700,000 pounds paying his salary for four years and on locums to cover his absence, the daily added.

“I raised concerns about patient safety and working practices. It turned into a nightmare. I want to restore my good name,” Agrawal was quoted as saying.

Commonly known as the Mid Staffs scandal, it was reported by the media after concerns were raised over high mortality rates among patients between January 2005 and March 2009 due to poor care at the hospital.

Later, a number of public inquiries were set up to look into the hospital’s failings. As a result, the trust was placed in special measures, which are designed to offer trusts the support they need to improve, as well as giving the public the ability to hold them to account.

A high court judge later ruled in the surgeon’s favour when the General Medical Council sought to stop him practising pending a full disciplinary hearing.

But the trust finally sacked Agrawal in May this year citing “a breakdown in working relationships between you and your colleagues”.

Agrawal has now appealed against the trust’s decision, saying he has been fired for speaking out. He is backed by Labour MP Lucy Powell and Conservative MP Peter Bottomley.

“The trust is defending Agrawal’s current claims and, due to ongoing litigation, is unable to comment further,” a trust spokesperson said.


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