No disciplinary action after £2.3m settlement

NO civil servants have been disciplined for their role in the dismissal of an ophthalmologist despite a multi-million-pound settlement being awarded to the eye surgeon over the affair, the Chief Minister has confirmed.

Consultant ophthalmologist Amar Awlitry, whose job offer was rescinded
Consultant ophthalmologist Amar Awlitry, whose job offer was rescinded

Amar Alwitry, a consultant ophthalmologist, won a court case against the States Employment Board in 2019 after lodging grievances because his job offer at the Hospital was rescinded before he started work in 2012.

Earlier this year, Chief Minister John Le Fondré announced that Mr Alwitry would receive a £2.3 million settlement as a result of his treatment.

In response to a written question tabled by Deputy Mike Higgins, Senator Le Fondré, in his capacity as SEB chairperson, confirmed that no disciplinary action was taken against government staff over the affair. The Chief Minister said: ‘As regards the dismissal, public servants acted in line with policy and advice at the time and no disciplinary action was taken against any of the officers involved in the dismissal of Mr Alwitry.

‘Officers acted in good faith, as found by the Royal Court: “We have considerable sympathy with the position of the hospital management, who we find were acting in good faith and motivated by the best long-term interest of the General Hospital and we further find that its concerns over the conduct of Mr Alwitry were genuinely held.”

‘Furthermore, no such discipline has been taken in respect of decisions taken during the course of court proceedings. Litigation is unpredictable and it is unreasonable to suggest any officer should face disciplinary action because the outcome is not the one desired.’

It adds that there was a ‘strong public interest’ in defending the case, noting that several aspects of Mr Alwitry’s claim were defeated.

‘The States Employment Board acted on advice and was guided by local and UK precedent. Furthermore, it is worth noting that Mr Alwitry was not successful on several aspects of his claim (whistleblowing claims, defamation, tortious conspiracy, exemplary damages) and his total claimed losses were excessive,’ Senator Le Fondré added.

The SEB claimed the withdrawal of Mr Alwitry’s employment offer had related to a ‘breakdown’ in the relationship between him and his senior managers.

However, Mr Alwitry maintained that his job offer was rescinded because he raised concerns about patient safety.

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