Metro Joe Roberts 30 Sep 2019
Dr Anthony Adams was sacked after speaking out about bullying and discrimination (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)
A top doctor who spoke out against discrimination says he can’t get a job after being ‘blacklisted’ by the NHS.
Anthony Adams has been a consultant in emergency medicine for 20 years and a qualified doctor since 1988.
This makes him one of the most experienced doctors in his field at a time when NHS trusts across the country are struggling to find enough staff to treat patients.
Dr Adams had a clean record, but in 2012, he was sacked after raising concerns about bullying and discrimination at his hospital.
He said he was left with no choice but to start proceedings for an unfair dismissal, and the General Medical Council later found there was no case against him.
But he has since failed to land any permanent job, despite being on the specialist register and sole applicant in many of the roles.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘Honestly, when I was dismissed, I was asking myself, “What did I do? What have I done?”
‘I really do not know.’
Dr Adams has been a consultant in emergency medicine for 20 years (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)
Dr Adams said it started when he raised complaints about behaviour that was beginning to affect his health.
He said: ‘I had to take time off sick and went to see the occupational health consultant to explain what had been happening.
‘Since that dismissal I have been totally unsuccessful.’ Dr Adams, from Peterborough, has had stints working as a locum consultant for months at a time, but he wanted to know why he was being repeatedly rejected.
He said: ‘I decided to do a data subject access request [DSAR] because I found that even trying to get locum agency posts, I was being “blacklisted”.
‘By that I mean my CV was being approved and forwarded on by the medical staffing department, and then it was blocked.
‘It was happening in quite a few hospitals.’
He added: ‘In all but one of my interviews I was the sole candidate for, and usually these departments find it extremely difficult to find recruits.
‘Nobody wants to go to work there, either because of geography or something else, and I just wasn’t “appointable” according to them.’
He said one of the ‘telling incidents’ was at a teaching hospital.
Dr Adams has struggled to find a permanent job despite being on the specialist register(Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)
He said: ‘They really wanted to employ me.
There was a two-tier interviewing process.
One was a psychometric where you were taken in for a day and they put you through scenarios.
‘I was told I passed with colours, they absolutely loved me. ‘
And I had worked in that department before as a locum as well.
‘I was the only applicant, but on the day I was told my references again were “absolute rubbish”.’
Despite the setbacks, Dr Adams has kept his skills up to date with courses and training.
He said: ‘I’m also somebody who trains others.
Not only are patients losing out but so are nurses, doctors and paramedics.’
After another rejection, Dr Adams asked the British Medical Association to look into why he didn’t get a post at a hospital.
Dr Adams wants the ‘highly unethical practice’ of blacklisting doctors to stop (Picture: SWNS for Metro.co.uk)
In an email, a BMA adviser told Dr Adams that they had spoken with someone from the hospital trust’s HR department.
The adviser said: ‘She confirmed that you are on their ‘restricted’ list and will not be accepted for any locum shifts.
‘She did point out that usually a reason for this is set out on their system (e.g. lack of suitable qualifications etc.) but none was provided. ‘
She is aware that the decision has come from the consultants for historical reasons, as we already know.’
However, when asked whether Dr Adams had been ‘blacklisted’, a spokesperson for the trust denied any ‘restrictive list’ existed.
The spokesperson said: ‘It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an individual case due to confidentiality.
‘However, I can confirm that we do not have a restrictive list.’
Dr Adams has decided to take his case to an employment tribunal as he says it’s ‘obvious’ he’s being actively prevented from getting a consultant post ‘without justification’.
He said the strain on his family has been ‘absolutely dreadful’.
He said: ‘It has affected us all in ways I could not have imagined ‘It is a constant conversation.
There is no getting away from how badly I have been treated.
He added: ‘I have three children.
The eldest two are actually in the medical profession and one of the reasons why I want to do it is to change things for them.’
Dr Adams’ lawyer, Sheetul Sowdagur, from Bindmans LLP, slammed the ‘highly unethical practice’ of blacklisting doctors.
She said: ‘No one should be restricted or blacklisted and there should to be clear guidance in law in relation to this issue.
‘Additionally, there should at least exist a duty to inform the individual of any action taken, the reason why and the chance to challenge this.
‘In the absence of transparency discrimination, victimisation and unfairness will flourish. We will continue our fight against this highly unethical practice.’