‘More Lives Would Have Been Saved’

The island’s former top doctor has said more lives would have been saved during the pandemic, had the gov listened to her advice earlier.

Dr Rosalind Ranson was commenting as the British Medical Association released a statement saying she has won her employment tribunal against the DHSC.

The BMA said it has supported Dr Ranson, who lost her job after ‘speaking out about the blocking of Covid 19 advice by a Chief Executive, to win her case at an employment tribunal’. The tribunal’s decision has not yet been published.

In a statement, the BMA said: ‘The Employment Tribunal hearing, which began in January of this year, heard how Dr Ranson was marginalised, bullied and unfairly dismissed from her role as Chief Medical Director on the island. Dr Ranson became the Chief Medical Director in January 2020, moving to the Isle of Man to oversee  a reorganisation of health services and subsequently to provide expert medical advice and guidance on how the health system should respond to the pandemic.

‘However in March 2020 it became apparent that Dr Ranson and her team’s expert advice was not being heeded. The island’s pandemic strategy of following Public Health England was rejected by the island’s doctors. Dr Ranson’s role was to get their voices heard. After some delay the Government followed Dr Ranson’s medical advice and implemented the recommendations around quarantine and controls at the port.’

The union also says that the tribunal has found that former DHSC CEO Kathryn Magson’s criticisms of Dr Ranson were ‘ludicrous and unjustifiable’.

Dr Ranson added:  ‘The past two years have seen the highest but also the lowest parts of my career. The highest because eventually the Manx Government and healthcare leaders did heed my advice and the team I led and Covid-19 was, for most of 2020, eradicated on the island, allowing the public to live a life free of restrictions. However, if my advice had been heeded earlier, more lives would have been saved. As a doctor, my duty is to put patients and public first and this was made almost impossible by the campaign that was waged to make my work life untenable, to undermine my credibility and professionalism and finally force me out of a role I had been so looking forward to making a success”.

‘The financial and wellbeing support from the BMA has been absolutely crucial to me and to this case. Standing up as a whistleblower is extremely difficult, even when you know it’s the right thing to do. There were times when it felt a very lonely place to be as efforts to make my work life as unbearable as possible gathered momentum and I can wholeheartedly understand why many doctors, in similar positions, may feel they simply cannot fight for justice. But I knew what I had to say was right and I was doing it in the interests of the patients and wider public on the island. The Tribunal’s decision isn’t just a victory for me, it is also a victory for the principle of whistle blowing and for doctors having the freedom and independence to speak the truth.’

Gef will publish the tribunal’s decision and report in full. We have also contacted the DHSC for comment.

You can read some of our coverage of the tribunal below: