Consultant in £500k settlement with trust

The High Court in Belfast.

The High Court in Belfast.

A consultant anaesthetist is to be paid £500,000 as part of a settlement reached yesterday in her legal action against the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Margaret Drozdowicz agreed to resign from her post under the terms of the resolution at the High Court in Belfast.

Dr Drozdowicz sued for alleged breach of contract linked to her exclusion from the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen in 2013.

But after a week-long hearing Mr Justice Stephens was told the parties had arrived at a full settlement, with no admission of liability for any of her claims.

The trust is also to pay Dr Drozdowicz’s costs.

The anaesthetist, a Polish national, came to Northern Ireland to work within the NHS in 2005.

Within two years she was promoted and by 2009 obtained the position of lead in obstetric anaesthesia.

But by 2011 her relationship with some medical colleagues was said to have broken down. She was subjected to restrictions following a number of complaints accusing her of unprofessional behaviour.

Dr Drozdowicz claimed she had been isolated and ostracised after she performed an audit on the efficiency of theatres within the Erne Hospital.

She alleged the trust failed to properly investigate her complaints.

She also claimed that her actions led to 13 unfounded grievances about her from colleagues.

The trust disputed her allegations, with the court told that an investigation has not upheld her concerns.

There is no suggestion in the case of any harm to patients.

During proceedings Dr Dozdowicz alleged that a dying patient had received substandard care after being brought into the Erne in November 2013.

The 64-year-old man, described as a heavy smoker and drinker, was diagnosed as suffering from complaints including pneumonia.

Following out of court discussions it was announced that the breach of contract action has been resolved.

Dr Drozdowicz’s solicitor, Barry McCaul of McGale Kelly and Co, confirmed that she is to be paid £500,000.

He said: “My client is relieved at the outcome, which will see her make a clean break from her employment.”