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Shropshire whistleblower dentist tells job tribunal of 'witch hunt'

Telford | News | Published:

A consultant dentist complained he became the victim of a witch hunt after making whistleblowing allegations about waiting list breaches for patients at a hospital.

The accusation was made against Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust by Paul Dowsing, who was consultant orthodontist at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.

Mr Dowsing, who specialised in treating mainly young patients for dental regularities, was described by witnesses at Birmingham Employment Tribunal as an excellent dentist who "always put his patients first".

He made a legal claim against the trust, which he joined in 2006, alleging detriment, including suspension, after making whistleblowing allegations.

Mr Dowsing, from Branston, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, alleged in his written statement to the tribunal that there was a problem over patients being put on the waiting list and left there. He said their treatment could have been lost for ever.

He said dental work could take up to three years in some cases.

"The trust breached Government targets for waiting lists (known as the 18-week rule) by using underhand means to distort the figures and waiting lists," Mr Dowsing alleged in his statement.

He complained he was excluded from his work and later allowed to return. He went on sick leave for a time and eventually resigned.

Mr Dowsing further complained that his high standards of work and ethics "were not well received by all the staff".

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Under cross-examination, Mr Dowsing said: "There was a witch hunt against me – you (the trust) were out to get me."

The trust denied the allegations and accused Mr Dowsing of being involved in "personal conflicts" by transferring patients from the hospital to community practices.

The trust alleged that Mr Dowsing had a personal interest in one particular "outside" practice.

Witnesses pointed out that the NHS had a contract with community practices anyway.

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Mr Dowsing said in his statement that there was a "huge shortage" of orthodontists, particularly in Shropshire.

"When the workshop was particularly challenging we would start treatment in the hospital and then refer patients out to the community," he said in his statement.

"This freed up hospital time so that patients were not left on waiting lists.

"What I have done is battle against shortages and do my best for patients."

The hearing has been listed for 12 days and tribunal judge Ron Broughton will make a decision at a later date.

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