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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Surgeon who laid down law to Cameron and Clegg 'on indefinite leave' from hospital

Reports suggest David Nunn may have been put on 'gardening leave' after being 'reprimanded' by bosses

By Daily Mail Reporter

An irate surgeon who interrupted a hospital visit by the Prime Minister and Nick Clegg has gone on leave, according to the NHS trust which employs him.

The pair were with a group of aides and journalists at Guy's Hospital in central London last week when David Nunn, a leading hip replacement surgeon, burst in.

Appearing to object to some members of the group not having their sleeves rolled up, he told them: ‘Excuse me, I'm the senior orthopaedic surgeon in this department. Why is it that we're all told to walk around like this and these people...’

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Startling: Nick Clegg and David Cameron look taken aback after surgeon David Nunn burst in last week. His bosses claim he 'requested' leave

He was then drowned out by a perplexed-looking Mr Cameron and his aides who rushed forward to smooth things over.

They swiftly ushered the Prime Minister and the offending group out of the room - and away from rolling cameras.

The medic was heard shouting ‘I'm not having it’ from outside the room.

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust said that Mr Nunn had requested the period of leave. It is not yet known when he will return to work.

But unverified reports have suggested that he was put on ‘gardening leave’ – meaning bosses had sent him home - and that he had been ‘reprimanded’.

Patient Peter Hodgson, 63, from Clapham, south London, claims staff at Guy’s told him this when he returned to see Mr Nunn on Tuesday after undergone a hip replacement on the day of the PM’s visit.

Perplexed: Mr Cameron diplays a quizzical expression as Mr Nunn stormed in

Telling off: Dr Nunn points his finger as he berates media for not rolling up sleeves

Before: Health Secretary Andrew Lansley joins the PM and Mr Clegg on a tour

The retired tie maker said he had to wait an hour and a half to see another consultant because Mr Nunn was not at the hospital.

Mr Hodgson told The Independent: ‘I asked the registrar where he was and he said Mr Nunn was on gardening leave and reprimanded for what he said last week.’

In a bid to prevent doctors speaking to the media about the issue, the Trust sent staff an internal memo warning them to keep quiet.

It read: ‘At this stage we do not know when Mr Nunn will return to the Trust. Staff should be aware that media may phone without identifying themselves as media.

It is imperative staff not answer any questions or provide information or personal opinions.’

Mr Cameron and the Deputy Prime Minister were visiting the hospital on June 14 to unveil changes to reforms to the NHS.

It is understood that journalists in the group had checked with the ward sister whether they needed to wash their hands and roll up their sleeves, but were told it was not necessary as they were not coming into close contact with patients.

Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg had observed the drill because they were in contact with patients.

Despite Mr Nunn’s break from Guy’s, where he has served since 1990, he will continue his consultancy roles at a number of different hospitals.These include the London Clinic, Blackheath Hospital and London Bridge Private Hospital.

He has a record of attacks in the media. This year, in a letter to a newspaper, he slammed NHS managers making medical decisions 'for which they are unqualified'.

In another letter in 2009 he said: ‘Vast amounts of money have been spent on employing people who manage pathways, policies and protocols, but who have no direct patient contact and who do not answer to clinicians.

‘As a result, they have no incentive other than to see that their particular box has been ticked.’

A spokesman for the Trust said: ‘Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr David Nunn is currently on leave. As is usual practice, the care of his patients will be managed by his colleagues.

‘The individual needs of each patient will be carefully assessed, and if we feel any patients would benefit from treatment at another NHS Trust we will refer them to the appropriate consultant.’

Regarding the internal memo, the spokesman added: ‘It is normal Trust practice to provide staff with information and guidance in situations where they may receive queries outside their normal line of work, and to ensure media requests are managed according to the Trust’s media policy.

‘This is to prevent misinformation and provide support for staff.’



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