Matt Blake – Daily Mail March 28, 2012
A Christian doctor was sacked for emailing a prayer to colleagues to raise their spirits, an employment court has heard.
Dr David Drew went to tribunal after he became deeply concerned about practices at Walsall Manor Hospital, West Mids. and complained in writing.
But instead of listening to his concerns, he says the hospital compiled a report into his own professional conduct which contained a litany of bizarre claims.
Apart from the prayer email, Dr Drew also received a black mark for sending a cheery Christmas text to a fellow member of staff.
Alleging his original worries in a witness statement to an Employment Tribunal in Birmingham, the 64-year-old claimed there were two occasions where children had been sexually assaulted on the ward and one where a child had died after a consultant let him go home.
Dr Drew claimed after he complained about the consultant who oversaw the case he was promptly stripped of his role as clinical director.
Another investigation was later carried out into Dr Drew’s conduct after he claims he complained about the behaviour of a ‘very rude nurse’.
And he was finally dismissed after he failed to accept one of the recommendations of the investigation which ordered that he ‘refrain from using religious references in his professional communications verbal or written’.
Dr Drew, who is a practicing christian, admits that he emailed a prayer by St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, to colleagues on one occasion to try and motivate the department.
During it’s investigation the trust noted that Dr Drew had sent an ‘unwelcome’ text message to a colleague on Christmas day.
A report said: ‘While DD may regard such messages as benign RH perceived them as aggressive and unwelcome intrusions into his private time.’
Dr Drew said: ‘My text was “Have a peaceful Christmas”.
‘Rob Hodgkiss texted me back ‘likewise’. I read this after my dismissal. It was the first I knew of it
At the employment tribunal in Birmingham on Monday, Dr Drew added: ‘The allegation that I have forced my religion onto other people, that I am some kind of religious maniac was made worse by the fact that they told me there was no need to understand what this is all about.
‘If the trust wanted me to behave in a different way they should give me some explanation.
‘Little did I know that this email would cause me so much difficulty and ultimately result in my dismissal.’
Dr Drew, who lives with his wife Janet 61, in Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, claimed there was a chain of events during which he believes he was pushed to accept that he had behaved inappropriately, and was eventually offered hush money to go quietly.
He said: ‘On the 29 March 2010 Sue James (the hospital’s chief executive) wrote to me saying that she and the trust chair Ben Reid had accepted the report and its recommendations. She asked me to do the same.
‘One of these was to refrain from using religious references in professional communication.
‘On the 29 March I replied to Sue James saying I would need some clarification.
‘One the 31st Sue James by email stated that unless I agree to the recommendations and accept them without questioning or reserve I should resign.’
Of another meeting on June 25 2010, he said. ‘I was offered a generous financial inducement to leave quickly and quietly.
‘I replied to Sue James on 15 July 2010 stating that I considered the offer a bribe and that on the grounds of conscience I had to reject her offer.’
His wife Janet, with whom he has four children, looked on from the gallery.
Dr Drew was first excluded in April 2009, he was finally dismissed three days before Christmas in 2010 and he lost his appeal in April last year.
Dr Drew was qualified as a doctor at Bristol University in 1972, he trained as a paediatrician at Birmingham Children’s Hospital until 1977 and then went to Indochina to set up medical services in refugee camps in Northern Thailand in an American aid organisation.