A LIVER surgeon could be in line for a five-figure payout after it was ruled he was unfairly dismissed by East Lancashire’s hospital bosses.

Aditya Agrawal could receive up to £74,200 in compensation after a month-long employment tribunal ruled he was unjustly sacked by East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (ELHT).


A senior MP and a patients’ champion yesterday called for a public inquiry into the case and its estimated £1million cost.

Although Mr Agrawal won his unfair dismissal case, tribunal judge David Franey and two assessors, threw out the 44-year-old’s claims he had been sacked for ‘whistleblowing’.

Trust bosses yesterday said they felt Mr Agrawal had only won on a narrow procedural point.

The £70,000-a-year surgeon told Judge Franey working practices at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals imposed on him and colleagues caused ‘utter chaos’.

Mr Agrawal claimed they contributed to at least one death and one unnecessary major operation.

He said he was suspended in 2012 and dismissed in 2015 to punish his ‘whistleblowing’.

The tribunal in Manchester also heard claims of a campaign of personal abuse against Mr Agrawal by senior colleagues.

Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, campaigns for the protection of public service whistleblowers and raised Mr Agrawal’s case in Parliament before supporting him at the tribunal hearing.

He said: “The trust has spent an estimated £1million unsuccessfully trying to justify the unfair dismissal of an exemplary surgeon.

“It has cost Mr Agrawal four years of his career, life and professional development.

“I am calling for a public inquiry into why Mr Agrawal was suspended and then unfairly dismissed and why so much money was spent trying to justify those unfair actions.

“I accuse the trust of an unjustified campaign of harassment and persecution.

“The trust made errors from the start, beginning with his suspension and refused to correct them.

“From that point on it was an uneven and unfair battle which the tribunal recognises in its judgement.”

Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patients Voices Group, said: “I support Mr Bottomley’s call for a public inquiry.

“It has been a travesty not only in terms of Mr Agrawal’s treatment but the cost.”

Giving evidence to the tribunal, the trust’s clinical director Rob Watson criticised the new consultant’s attitude, behaviour, clinical performance and refusal to work a shift system.

He branded Mr Agrawal’s complaint about his own skills to the General Medical Council (GMC) as a ‘monstrous, cynical and nasty’ revenge attack.

The judgement decided his dismissal was not connected with a number of ‘protected disclosures’ to trust bosses about his concerns.

It ruled his key complaint to the GMC about Mr Watson was not legally protected whistleblowing as it ‘was not made in good faith’, and was ‘a dramatic exaggeration, entirely clouded by self-interest’.

The tribunal accepted an ‘irretrievable breakdown in working relationships’ had made Mr Agrawal’s return to the trust impracticable.

However it ruled the sacking was unfair because of ‘insufficient exploration of the possibility of mediation’, branding the dismissal hearing ‘insufficiently independent, inquisitorial and robust’.

The judgement said the terms of reference ‘steered the panel towards dismissal’, a flaw that remained uncorrected at the subsequent appeal.

Kevin Moynes, ELHT human resources director, said: “The trust is pleased this complex case has now concluded and accepts the tribunal’s findings.

“It found that Mr Agrawal was dismissed for a genuine breakdown in relationships between him and his consultant surgeon colleagues.

“The tribunal also held, as the trust has maintained throughout, that neither Mr Agrawal’s dismissal nor its actions during his employment were due to whistleblowing.

“The dismissal was deemed unfair due to a procedural issue.

“The trust had to defend its position in respect of these extremely serious allegations.”

The level of compensation is yet to be determined.

Mr Agrawal and his QC Paul Gilroy were unavailable for comment.