09 August 2010

A press release says it all

08th August 2010

The General Medical Council (GMC) has cleared sacked diabetes consultant Dr Shirine Boardman of any wrong-doing – two years after Warwick Hospital dramatically sacked her in July 2008. That means the truth of what happened can now be told.

Dr Boardman did not transfer medical records to any external organisation, as South Warwickshire Hospital Trust claimed. There was no breach of patient confidentiality, no involvement whatsoever of any “company”, and Dr Boardman did not break any NHS rules.

The facts are that she faxed a list of names and contact details of diabetes patients to her NHS secretary at the NHS clinic called Apnee Sehat. No medical details were included with the list.

The Apnee Sehat clinic was a pilot clinical service provided by Warwickshire Primary Care Trust. It was not an “external organisation” as the hospital claimed. It was not a private or “public benefit” company and Dr Boardman was not a director.

She gave the list to her medical secretary – who was subject to all NHS rules on confidentiality – so that these patients could be invited to take part in a special education programme designed to help them manage their diabetes and prevent serious complications such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and blindness. She was a doctor doing her best for her patients.

Dr Boardman was acting in accordance with official NHS and National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance, which both recommend this sort of patient education as essential healthcare. There was a statutory duty on all NHS bodies, including Warwick Hospital, to provide this healthcare education for their diabetes patients, but the hospital failed to do so.

The Hospital Trust complained that Dr Boardman had ignored: “explicit, repeated and consistent advice” not to share information with Apnee Sehat. But the GMC now admits that she: “complied with all the conditions set out by the Trust”.

“Dr Boardman’s motives seem to have been solely to benefit patients,” they added.

Many of the country’s most senior experts have been horrified by the action taken against Dr Boardman, among them Peter Bottomley, a senior backbench Conservative MP. Dr Boardman has recently been working at a hospital in his constituency. He has been following the case closely and raised it in Parliament. He said:

“This project should have been helped, not hindered. The individuals who were behind the complaint should now be questioned, and if judged appropriate, they and their Trust asked to account for their actions.

“Otherwise the Health Secretary should ask for a review of their actions.”

Lord Crisp, as Sir Nigel Crisp, was the NHS chief executive and Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health when the first, voluntary Apnee Sehat project started some years previously. He said:

"I was very impressed by the work Dr. Boardman did in creating Apnee Sehat. It was just the kind of thing that we wanted to see in the NHS and I was shocked that the Trust allowed this to develop to the point where they dismissed a forward thinking and committed Consultant who was clearly making a difference for patients locally."

Dr Sue Roberts CBE was the government’s leading expert in diabetes – the tsar – at the time the Apnee Sehat clinic was operating. She said:

“As the National Clinical Director for Diabetes at the time this took place, I would have expected the clinical and managerial staff of South Warwickshire NHS Trust to have welcomed the chance for their patients to be offered an opportunity to attend the course provided by the Apnee Sehat clinic.

“The dismissal of Dr Boardman was fundamentally unreasonable in that it disregarded good medical practice in the treatment of diabetes.”

Dr Boardman is understandably relieved by the GMC decision. She said:

“I am thankful this nightmare is finally behind me and my innocence has been proven.

“It came as a complete shock when my efforts to provide culturally appropriate patient education in the community was seen as gross misconduct and led to my dismissal.

“I can now continue with my career with my credibility intact, and would like to thank everyone who has believed in my innocence and supported me through this terrible period of my life.”

Dr. Boardman had previously been awarded four clinical excellence awards by the Trust for going above and beyond her contractual duties to help patients. She has continued working since her dismissal from Warwick as a Consultant Physician in other hospitals.


Anonymous said...

Now obviously the Hospital Trust is going to lose money if patients are educated and not require hospital admission. PCTs are going to save money. That is not on. Heh! But it is all our money, tax payer's.

More of this in the future.

Jobbing Doctor said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

I shall now repost my comments from the archive, and maybe we can have a statement from Mr Glen Birley, CEO, giving a formal apology to Dr Boardman.

It it too much to expect?

Betty M said...

I find it hard to understand why the hospital acted as it did. Was it really all about money? Whatever the reason what they did was a disgrace.

Dr Jr said...


If there's any reason for a dodgy sacking, it invariably involves money.

A shameful piece of play by the trust and indicative of how pen-pushing management really do try to stick the knife in dedicated medical frontliners. A lot of managers are decent people, but this small bunch of people really bring the whole segment into a shady disrepute.

Sam said...

The really horrible thing about this shady practice is that the actions of this management made bystandars like myself believe that this doctor did indeed do wrong while she was totally innocent! Shame on them and sorry Dr Boardman.

Let's wait and see if anybody is held accountable for this deliberate slander of an innocent and well meaning doctor or not - as usual!

NHS wants to save money and cut waste? Here, is a golden opportunity!

PCOS patient said...

Are the details of the GMC ruling in the public domain yet? I would like to pass it on as widely as possible - especially in local (Warks) press.

Dr Grumble said...

I haven't been able to check on any of the facts in this press release but it comes from a reliable source.

Dr Grumble said...

For some reason blogger did not publish this comment:

Dr Boardman an Endocrinologist Consultant has been my Dr in the filed of PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovaries Syndrome) for a number of years. I was extremely pleased with Dr Boardman’s treatments and her positive attitude during a very difficult depressive episode. She is forward thinking and a leading Dr in this field. In my opinion there is no one in the UK who offers the same level of specialism in the field of PCOS. I was shocked and dismayed to read of Dr Boardman’s dismissal for gross misconduct, which I immediately knew must be incorrect. Although she is always extremely positive and self assured she would get justice, I was very concerned for her. This must have placed a huge burden on her board shoulders and that of her family.

I am absolutely thrilled but not surprised that the GMC has exonerated Dr Boardman and concluded she acted in the best interests of her patients and the disciplinary was prejudiced. At the end of the day Dr Boardman was wanting to offer diabetes education such as dietary advice to patients, but in separately funded nhs service. How can this possible constitute gross miss conduct and everything that followed. Going forward the trust must learn from this .and prevent the patients of Warwickshire from losing out on principal Dr’s in their field of specialism, which at the end of the day benefits patients and the reputation of the Trust. I am hoping that the trust acts and Dr Boardman is in a position to re assume her role and has not been forced to relocate permanently. The reputational damage, stress and any costs of travelling or otherwise to another place of work etc should be re-reimbursed in compensation . But most importantly the trust must apologise in no uncertain terms for the impact on Dr Boardman and her family ,and for the Trusts miss conduct. Dr Boardman’s job should be reinstated immediately. The Trusts miss conduct must be internally investigated and people held to account for this disastrous turn of events , and a gross over reaction to the sharing of data between nhs organisations with good and honourable intentions. If you met Dr Boardman you would know she loves her patients, works hard and has not a malicious bone in her body. We lost a leading Dr of Endocrinology in Warwickshire and ultimately it is the patients that lost out. I wish her all the best and know we are to hear more from her in future, where ever she may end up, but I am heartbroken she may not be my Dr anymore.

Name supplied as they say in the letters pages but I have left it blank because it is from a patient.

Anonymous said...

I only found these on the GMC site:

Jameel Ullah Khan - 09 Jul 2010
Basil Thanoon Saeed - 09 Jul 2010
Sangar Ali - 02 Jul 2010
Anthony Ventour - 25 Jun 2010
Gregory Parkin-Smith - 24 Jun 2010
Adrian Anthony Martin McCauley - 24 Jun 2010
Mohammad Sharief - 23 Jun 2010
Werner Kolb - 23 Jun 2010
Ahmed Abbas Hussein - 22 Jun 2010
David Stewart Sowden - 22 Jun 2010
Richard Michael Fox - 22 Jun 2010
Jozef Loedwijk Maria Hoeyberghs - 21 Jun 2010
Daniel McKnight Abaraonyeobi Ubani - 18 Jun 2010
Howard Martin - 18 Jun 2010
Fabrizio Equizi - 18 Jun 2010
Odenefe Isiavwe - 17 Jun 2010

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