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A heart doctor turned whistleblower who exposed NHS safety fears has won an unfair dismissal case, his solicitor said.
Cardiologist Raj Mattu was vilified and bullied by the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust during a years-long witch hunt , according to Ashfords LLP.
He was cleared this week of wrongdoing by Birmingham Employment Tribunal, which ruled the trust unfairly dismissed him and subjected him to detriments because he was a whistleblower.
Dr Mattu publicly exposed overcrowding and fears for patient safety at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry in 2001.
A year later the £70,000-a-year doctor was suspended by the trust on full pay after being accused of bullying. He was dismissed in 2010.
Following the judgement, Dr Mattu said: I am relieved that I have won my case. My treatment by the trust over the past 13 years has damaged my health, my professional reputation and my livelihood and its effects on my personal and private life have been devastating.
I can only hope that the NHS learns from my case and starts to listen to its doctors and nurses who raise concerns.
His solicitor believes the trust spent more than £6 million defending itself during the long-running case.
Stephen Moore added: This has been a David v Goliath battle, which I am delighted to have won for my client.
The tribunal s findings - that Dr Mattu was a whistleblower and was unfairly dismissed - completely vindicate him.
Dr Mattu was a fantastic cardiologist and it was tragic that his pursuit of safety and the highest standards in care led to him being vilified, bullied and harassed out of a job he loved.
He added that the prolonged stress caused by the witch hunt had made his client ill.
Dr Mattu said he was forced to turn whistleblower because the trust repeatedly ignored his complaints about the treatment of patients, including a policy which allowed five patients to be put in a ward designed for four, which he said led directly to the death of a patient.
After being suspended Dr Mattu won a disciplinary hearing and the trust was forced to reinstate him in 2008.
A year later an inquiry by the General Medical Council also cleared him of the long-standing bullying allegations.
But Dr Mattu continued to experience hostility from management and in 2009 launched grievance procedures.
This was met with counter-allegations of more bullying and breach of confidentiality and in 2010 Dr Mattu was dismissed by the trust while on sick leave.
Mr Moore said the case brought to light the appalling way whistleblowers are still being treated .