Dr Ranson Tribunal: Day Two

The tribunal pitting Dr Rosalind Ranson v DHSC heard on Tuesday that the island’s former Medical Director wasn’t allowed to attend orchestra rehearsals as her attendance at what she said were non-vital meetings was refused.

Dr Ranson is claiming that she was unfairly treated and dismissed in and from her job as a result of her making protected disclosures, i.e. whistle blowing.

On the tribunal’s second day, Dr Ranson continued to give evidence under cross-examination by DHSC advocate James Boyd, as she said that former DHSC CEO Kathryn Magson wasted Dr Ranson’s time as punishment for speaking out against her. 

Dr Ranson said that this punishment, including being embarrassed in front of colleagues by Ms Magson, had her time deliberately wasted by Ms Magson unnecessarily prolonging meetings and was treated differently to other colleagues, including one incident where she says she was ordered to switch her camera on during a Microsoft Teams meeting when she had turned it off to eat her dinner.

Protected Disclosures

During the morning, Mr Boyd began by asking Dr Ranson about the dates around her protected disclosures and the treatment, she alleges, she received from Ms Magson. 

Mr Boyd noted at least one, now withdrawn, allegation against Ms Magson pre-date when Dr Ranson said she first made a protected disclosure. Mr Boyd said that as a result of this, Dr Ranson couldn’t have possibly been mistreated because of a disclosure, saying it was a ‘matter of logic’. 

However, Dr Ranson said that she can take the incidents of March 25, which were described on the first day of the tribunal, where she raised concern with Ms Magson over whether clinical advice was reaching CoMin. Dr Ranson told the tribunal: ‘I was not thinking I’m a whistleblower, I was doing my duty.’

Mr Boyd said that based on the submissions to the tribunal, Dr Ranson says the bad treatment against her by Ms Magson didn’t begin until around three months after her first disclosure and asked her didn’t she think it would happen sooner. However Dr Ranson replied that events occurred earlier than in the submissions and again repeated that she didn’t see herself as a whistleblower at this time. 

Lying

Later on, Mr Boyd asked Dr Ranson about an accusation that Ms Magson had accused her of lying and humiliated her in front of her colleagues over a document that was being prepared without the latter’s knowledge.

Dr Ranson said the document had been agreed with the Bronze team, which was part of the Covid response structure. She said that while she had ‘no problem’ with sharing the document with Ms Magson or a Mr O’Connor who was writing a report for her, she objected to being accused of lying and being ‘humiliated’ in the meeting with colleagues. 

When Mr Boyd raised the matter of an email between Dr Ranson and Ms Magson where she the former told the latter there must have been a ‘misunderstanding’, Dr Ranson said she had been ‘trying to be polite’ and later said that as a result of her being ‘instructed’ to share her report, it hadn’t gone through the normal process before it was later used in the document created by Mr O’Connor. 

Dr Ranson also agreed with Mr Boyd’s suggestion that it was ‘totally appropriate’ for Ms Magson to ask for the report, she said the humiliation she felt was one that would be repeated throughout the year. 

Wasting My Time

Another accusation of Dr Ranson’s is that Ms Magson would go out of her way to waste her time by prolonging meetings and asking for information she was already aware of. 

She said that on some occasions, she would spend ‘two hours a day’ briefing the former department CEO who, Dr Ranson said, ‘didn’t understand the situation’ on the island. A common issue raised, mostly by the media, during the early stages of the pandemic was that Ms Magson was, due to the Covid restrictions, based in the UK for most of the height of the pandemic. 

However, beyond explaining the Manx context of the pandemic, Dr Ranson said that Ms Magson would increasingly waste her time by prolonging meetings which to her ‘very much felt like a punishment’. 

During the afternoon, this was expanded to where Dr Ranson said Ms Magson unnecessarily kept her on a over four-and-a-half hour meeting despite being aware that Dr Ranson wasn’t feeling well and hadn’t eaten. She said that the meeting contained ‘nothing urgent’ and included many subjects that had previously been discussed. 

Cameras On

During the tribunal hearing, Mr Boyd asked Dr Ranson about the issue of why she complained about Ms Magson requiring her to have her video on during Microsoft Teams meetings. 

Dr Ranson said that to begin with, everyone had theirs on, but as months wore on, several members began to keep theirs off. However, when she did this so she could eat during the meeting, Ms Magson told her to switch hers back on.

She explained that she felt it was ‘impolite’ to eat while on camera so had switched hers off. However, when she was told to put it back on, Dr Ranson said she felt unable to continue eating. She said it had happened around October 2020, but similar incidents happened on other occasions.

When asked if she believed this was because she had made protected disclosures, Dr Ranson said ‘absolutely yes’.

The Orchestra

Dr Ranson is not from the island, however when she moved here to take up the role as Medical Director, she had joined an orchestra. Obviously during lockdown this had stopped, but as restrictions eased later in the year, she sought to rejoin the orchestra and begin to achieve more of a work life balance.

However, she told the tribunal that was prevented from doing this due to meetings with GPs which were held on the same night. Dr Ranson added that her attendance at these were ‘not needed’ as she had a deputy who was employed by the DHSC, in part, to engage with GPs. She said her continued attendance was ‘unnecessary’. 

Dr Ranson added that part of her decision to stop attending, was to seek a greater work-life balance, but when she said she wouldn’t be attending meetings so she could go to the orchestra rehearsals, which were on the same evenings as the weekly meetings, she says she was told she couldn’t by Ms Magson. 

A visibly upset Dr Ranson told the tribunal: ‘There wasn’t a need for me to be there in the evenings on top of everything, it was the only thing that I did to try and have a bit of enjoyment and life outside the job.’

Continues

The tribunal continues on Wednesday morning, with Dr Ranson due to complete giving her evidence at some point during the day. Other witnesses will be called this week, before the DHSC begins calling its witnesses, which will probably be next week.

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