Hospital Dr News

Resignation at Barts prompts safety inquiry

A consultant orthopaedic surgeon has resigned from Barts and the London NHS Trust after claiming patients have been harmed as a result of poor management and government cuts.

Mr David Goodier’s resignation letter has prompted an independent inquiry by the Royal College of Surgeons into the complaints.

The letter, which was also emailed to colleagues, claimed that patients with broken bones were being physically harmed as managers strove to hit waiting list targets and cut budgets.

It says: “About a year ago I went ballistic about my perception of a lack of commitment to trauma by the chief executive. This resulted in a meeting…where it was made clear that the only priorities of the trust were 18 week wait times and the financial state.

“Trauma was seen as a side issue.”

Prof Norman Williams, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, who works part time at the hospital, has also written to the hospital’s medical council expressing his own concerns with deteriorating emergency services.

The hospital asked the Royal College of Surgeons to conduct an independent inquiry into Goodier’s claims.

Goodier cites his reasons for quitting as rising workloads and deteriorating facilities. “The locums for leavers are currently doing 9 PA to SPA contracts, the two more consultants we need to get to 1 in 6 split weekends (or 1:12 doubled up weekends) still haven’t been finalised and the ‘Trauma Plan’ means all consultants will be on call pretty much until they retire.”

He adds: “The supplies situation is dangerous. We are regularly out of kit, out of nurses, out of ODPs and always out of beds. We have become so used to this situation, it is no longer seen as a crisis, it is the norm.”

He describes a series of recent cases in which patients allegedly received poor care including a calcaneal fracture that kept “getting bumped by more urgent cases” until three weeks down the line it healed “in a bad position” and a compound tibia that was going to get a second look at 48 hours after initial debridement but went to theatre six days later.

He concludes: “I have been complicit in a poor standard of trauma care and am guilty of negligence by association. I can no longer stand idly by when patients are at best having their human rights breached and at worst physically harmed by the care they receive at BLT.”

Goodier resigned after 15 years at the trust as a consultant.

A trust spokeswoman said the inquiry had invited a medical director from an independent foundation trust to undertake a review. She added that the trust has one of the best clinical safety records in the NHS, and is seeking to expand its orthopaedic services.

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7 Responses to “Resignation at Barts prompts safety inquiry”


  2. Get Real says:

    Good for Mr Goodier. Its about time senior doctors take a stand against poor care – after all that is what we are trained for. Perhaps his action will encourage others to stand up for important clinical governance issues.

  3. perry_rhodan says:

    Welcome to the real world. The events he mentions are a daily occurrence at my Trust – we can hardly be that different from other hospitals.
    We need Chief Execs with the balls to say no to having to provide more services while the government cuts funding further.

  4. Watch your back says:

    I suspect there will be some dubious charge of misconduct as the those involved will try and burn him alive. Email archives will be searched in order to find something to discredit him etc.

  5. pete says:

    I’d second the comments of ‘Get Real’. But why DON’T more senior doctors speak out and why do they so often just keep their heads down? The answer’s easy. Since the gifting of merit awards, or CEA’s as they’re now called, moved from a remote decision-making process to an in-hospital one, its become necessary to keep your nose clean with all those around who might just influence one’s luck. In effect that means either keeping your mouth shut or else licking the arses of management by doing their bidding. Why else is it that doctors, yes doctors, have been responsible for implementing so many of the changes that are destroying our healthcare, focussing on number crunching and ignoring quality? And this patronage, rubber-stamped at the highest level by Tony Blair when he took ‘cash for honours’, trickles down right through the system. Does anyone seriously think that Medical Directors in hospitals, for example, are anything other than the lackeys of management? Did Darzi do his job for the love of medicine, or to get a seat in the House of Lords. Have the presidents of the GMC, or the BMA, or any of the Royal Colleges really put medicine and surgery first, or are they thinking more of their forthcoming knighthoods. There’s no courage any more, so David Goodier at Barts needs to be hailed from the rooftops

  6. Malcolm Morrison says:

    ‘Pete’ may express his disillusionment in rather florid language, but his sentiments are exactly right. It is the DUTY of ALL docotrs to try to ensure proper treatment for patients; and report any failures (not only is this the medical ‘ethic’; even the GMC has said so!). We only have to look at North Staffs!

    Sadly, for far too long, ‘senior’ consultants have not taken an interest in ’emergencies’ and have relied on ‘juniors’ to take care of them! Such ‘trainees’ CANNOT argue with ‘management’ – certainly not without the support of their consultants. Consultants ARE in the position to INSIST “on clinical grounds” that the needs of emergencies MUST take priority over elective cases’.
    Retired Orthopd

  7. James says:

    Great for taking a stand and highlighting cuts in quality in the drive for financial savings.

    As for complaining that consultants will have to be on call pretty much until they retire: sorry, but that is what the vast majority of consultants in DGHs around the country do and have done as long as I can remember!

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