The 'Prof' Meirion Thomas saga is complex and I shall not attempt to address all the details in this piece. For more detail simply use 'google' and read away. I am no fan of Mr Meirion Thomas, he is in fact no longer entitled to use his honorary 'Professor' title as it lapsed back in 2012. He has written several rather ill informed and ignorant pieces around the NHS in respected sources such as the Daily Mail and Spectator, there is no hint of sarcasm in my tone I may righteously add.
Whatever one thinks of his words, he is entitled to his opinion, no matter how misogynistic, sexist, ill informed, ignorant, hurtful or just plain wrong that opinion is. The Spectator ignorantly claims that no one has 'tackled' his comments, a total distortion of the reality which has seen his words totally dismantled by objective evidence based opinion throughout the media. The Spectator's attempt to obfuscate and hide from the truth are embarrassing, labelling Meirion Thomas a 'whistleblower' is a total abuse of the word. He is entitled to free speech like all of us, unless he crosses the line of the law. It is worth bearing in mind that it is not just criminal law that Mr Meirion Thomas has to respect, but he is an employee of the NHS and as an NHS employee he has to respect the law of his contract of employment. He certainly hasn't been criminal with his ill informed opinion, but has he ignored the terms of his employment contract? Of critical importance is the clear fact that the Spectator claims that:
"he insisted on being described simply as an NHS surgeon"
This is pivotal. Firstly it is important to realise that this is what the Spectator claims, I do not know whether the Spectator is being strictly honest with its words. However it remains abundantly clear that Mr Meirion Thomas effectively used the description of 'NHS surgeon' and it was not made abundantly clear, as any competent Editorial team should well appreciate, that he was speaking as an individual and not for his employer, the NHS. Therefore Mr Meirion Thomas has ended up on very tricky legal ground with his employer, the Royal Marsden. This is something the rather biased and stilted Spectator piece completely fails to get across, there is a thing called employment law and although there is a thing called 'free speech', this is not unbounded and it most certainly does not allow one to appear to speak for one's employer in the media, effectively what Mr Meirion Thomas has ended up doing.
So in summary don't believe the nonsense written Mr Meirion Thomas and the dubious justifications of his ignorant scaremongering in the Spectator. Free speech is not absolute, Mr Meirion Thomas is an NHS employee and as such must respect his contract of employment. It is is clear that for whatever reason, whether down to Mr Meirion Thomas' ignorance or the Spectator's desire to exploit his NHS reputation for page hits, or perhaps a combination of the two, it was not made clear to readers that Mr Meirion Thomas's writing was merely the opinion of an individual. I doubt we shall ever hear the truth behind the Spectator's editorial fiddling and what the Royal Marsden has actually stipulated about any future articles by Mr Meirion Thomas. The Spectator claims that he may not publish again:
"at least not without submitting the text to the hospital’s management for approval"
Without knowing the full details it is impossible to justifiably criticise the Marsden's stance on this. They are not necessarily seeking to 'shut him up' as the Spectator likely unfairly states, they may very well be simply ensuring that he accurately states he is writing as an individual in the future, so that readers are not knowingly misled into thinking his ignorant ill informed bile may have any kind of NHS seal of approval.