St George's Surgeon Wrongly Excluded

Award-winning surgeon wrongly excluded from work during 'toxic' cardiac unit row

An award-winning consultant surgeon was wrongly excluded from a cardiac unit after she was caught up in a “toxic” row between staff.

Now the surgeon has been given an official apology from the hospital trust which runs the unit. And a “private settlement” between the two parties has also been reached, a joint statement has revealed.

The saga dates back to August 2018. At that time, St George’s Hospital Trust excluded Professor Marjan Jahangiri – but because her exclusion had nothing to do with concerns for patients’ safety or her competence, the trust has had to issue the apology.

The Tooting hospital had commissioned a review into the working relationships in the cardiac surgery unit, and a leaked report later suggested staff believed a “toxic” row between surgeons made a high number of deaths inevitable.

In September 2018, this led to about 100 complex surgeries being taken away from St George’s and moved to other hospitals.

But by that time, Professor Jahangiri and the hospital trust had already been to the High Court, and on August 28 (following an interim injunction hearing on August 24), Mr Justice Nicklin judged that the exclusion was unlawful.

Professor Jahangiri was immediately allowed back to work, and she has entered into a confidential settlement with the trust.

In a joint statement agreed with Professor Jahangiri, the trust said the review into staff relationships has finished but its findings will be disregarded “in light of concerns raised”.

The trust commended the consultant’s “long-standing commitment and dedication to the cardiac surgery service and patients”, adding that she “helped build the unit and has been instrumental in training many other cardiac surgeons”.

Last year, Professor Jahangiri was awarded the BMJ Clinical Leadership Team award, and was one of three finalists for the Silver Scalpel Award for training excellence at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Association of Surgeons in Training.

The statement reads: “The trust apologises to Professor Jahangiri for excluding her, for the subsequent interim proceedings in the High Court, and the distress that this caused her.

“Professor Jahangiri and the trust have entered into a private settlement in relation to these matters, the terms of which are confidential.

“The trust has taken steps to learn from these events to ensure that this does not happen to any other member of staff.”

Issues with the unit, which led to the loss of £11 million of revenue because of the moved surgeries, are being resolved through the appointment of experienced specialist Steven Livesey to lead the service.

In the statement, Professor Jahangiri said she welcomed the move and “looks forward” to working with him.

Calum Rutter, Local Democracy Reporter

May 24, 2019