Monday, 14 February 2011

Scottygate revisited - Needham shoots herself in foot

It was hard to miss the 'Scottygate' scandal of a couple of years ago; if you missed it then Dr Rant has covered a lot of it in excellent detail. Essentially various senior doctors in management positions used their power in a completely disproportionate manner and this resulted in a junior doctor being inappropriately suspended from work for a significant period of time. It was a classical case of the medicopolitical abuse of power.

One of the senior doctors behind this scandal was Gillian Needham. She has now felt the need to give her 'side' of the story, really she should have simply let sleeping dogs lie, instead she is amazingly trying to portray herself as the victim in the whole affair, while her lack of remorse and her complete inability to admit to having made a big mistake are unbelievable, it is quite simply beneath contempt.

The BMJ have also made a massive error in giving this woman the space with which to try to justify the unjustifiable, she deserves no sympathy from the BMJ's readership and she will not get any I am sure. Several letters are already flooding into the BMJ's rapid response section and it will not be very favourable for Needham. I have taken this excellent and eloquent response to Gillian Needham, it is written by a senior doctor who sums things up very nicely indeed:

"I fully expect that this message will be but one of the deluge that will flood your inbox over the coming days, but I was so incensed by your self-serving patronising and utterly complacent article published in the BMJ this weekend that a direct response was needed. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself, behaving as you do; like a petulant talentless teenager on a popular reality television show.

I will pass briefly over the gross affront accorded to retired doctors who you glibly dismiss and compartmentalise as having passed through a medical death by asking just from where do you derive this imperious arrogance and disconnection from reality?

The facts of this matter are, that by over reacting you precipitated a maelstrom which damaged the offending trainee far more the fleeting discomfort you experienced. It is of course very frustrating when something is in the public domain and as an office holder you cannot reply. Believe me I know this only too well, having managed a number of very high profile problems and having been misrepresented myself. Get over it; it goes with the territory. The true professional does not respond then, or ever after. Certainly never in a such a whinging, self serving way that can only ignite the original grievances again. You will certainly be further diminished by doing this.

You, and your colleagues in medical education perpetuated a disastrous re-organisation of post graduate training, introducing a system more akin to the Soviet era in its total disregard of the personal needs of trainees and focus on standardised production. You do not seem to appreciate that because of what you did, there are thousands of young men and women out there who have been permanently damaged by your slavishly idealistic and dogmatic attitudes.

You Madam are depised and loathed by these doctors whose development you and your colleagues let down so badly. The fact that you have published this account shows how little you understand that. Doubtless you will now be thinking about another intimate piece of disclosure to show how unfair you think the hostile response to your self-indulgent pleading is. Like the petulant teenager, you know no shame.

You brought the wrath of others upon your head by your overzealous and disproportionate reaction in the first place, and now you are doing the same by this ridiculous attempt at self justification. When will you ever learn?

Yours etc"

Hear, Hear.


Anonymouse said...

Scot junior made a mistake given the severity of the language he used. It would have been unacceptable whether it was a directed at a high profile colleague or the kitchen porter at the hospital. That said and given the extraordinary damage to careers and the frustrations felt by thousands of doctors because of hurricane MTAS, he should have been let off with a caution or a warning. Especially that he was venting in an all doctors forum and then withdrew the offensive comment as soon as he was alerted that Prof Plaice had seen it.

What is still unanswered is why was Prof Plaice in that forum in the first place? And why, when after 3 weeks into his suspension and was refered to a professional panel, did Prof Needham override their decision and suspend him again after said panel recommended his reinstatement?!

And now Needham is trying to doubt the young doctor's mental health to justify her OTT actions! How cruel! Well, by the same token then and given that resuspension which must have tormented that young doctor and his family, why isn't her own mental health, hence her suitability as a dean being questioned too?!

Since all these questions remain unanswered, if this is not stark abuse of power, I do not know what is!

And she will get away with too! As those 'top rank' always do!

Anonymous said...


I thought you once said the GMC were good decision makers. If your logic is correct then surely Needham is justified in her remarks :) :)


PS Nice post by the way. Needham and Co is being considered by Rule 12 Review at the GMC.

Julie said...

Dr Rant is back!

Be afraid, Gillian Needham. Be very afraid..

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