A DOCTOR who was fired by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), despite an ‘exemplary clinical career’ and the support of thousands of patients and former colleagues, is preparing to fight his case in an employment tribunal.

Winchester obstetrics and gynaecology consultant of 20 years, Martyn Pitman, starts his tribunal against HHFT on Monday, September 25 after what he describes as a 'four-and-a-half year witch hunt', which ended with him being dismissed.

The trust has denied that the much-loved consultant was fired for whistleblowing and raising concerns about patient and staff safety.

Andover Advertiser: Martyn Pitman Martyn Pitman (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Speaking ahead of the three-week tribunal, Mr Pitman, said: “The trust has repeatedly tried to achieve postponement of the tribunal, which was very concerning. It feels a bit surreal, after such a long wait, that it’s now actually happening.

“I’m intending to simply tell the truth, whatever level of legal provocation I am exposed to. There are three things that I am hoping to achieve. I want answers, that I’m still yet to receive after four and a half years.

“I want accountability as having, I believe, demonstrated repeated senior managerial failings and deficiencies in how my investigation was managed, I am yet to have any confidence that genuine managerial accountability at HHFT actually exists.

“I want assurance from the trust that lessons will be learnt and that no other members of staff will be treated in the same disgraceful manner.

“Through this process, I have been forced to accept that there is simply no possibility of returning to the career that I loved.

“I have to remain realistic and pragmatic regarding my chances of success. As many before me have tragically found out, statistics are not on your side as an NHS whistleblower.

“Whatever ‘winning’ represents, it will never adequately compensate me for the loss of my cherished career or the irreparable damage caused to me and my family. No matter the outcome, I will still feel I have done the right thing for the right reasons.”

The doctor has been overwhelmed with support from former colleagues and patients, with more than 1,600 people now part of the Friends of Martyn Pitman Facebook group which was created following Mr Pitman’s dismissal in March.

Mr Pitman, 57, said: “The support has been absolutely incredible and at times overwhelming. Imposed professional isolation has been one of the most damaging impositions. The documented support for me has counteracted periods of self-doubt.

“I would be going into this tribunal in a much weaker position without it. Knowing that I have this level and depth of continued support has been incredible to behold. I am so very grateful. I thank those who have put names to their stories but also those who have posted anonymously. Their posts however raise some very significant concerns.”

After the Winchester consultant’s appearance on Good Morning Britain (GMB), the trust implemented a series of changes to demonstrate support for employees raising concerns.

Changes include the launch of Culture Week featuring a Big Conversation event designed to encourage HHFT staff to speak up, a new cultural ambition statement and Freedom to Speak Up reminders.

HHFT then posted photos of three new murals, one at each hospital site, devoted to the new cultural ambition: “We have a culture that places people at the heart of all we do, where we all belong and where learning, improvement and excellence thrive.”

On the same day that Mr Pitman appeared on ITV breakfast show GMB, the trust released a statement. 

It said: “Dismissal is always a last resort and since Hampshire Hospitals was formed 11 years ago, no member of staff has ever been dismissed for whistleblowing or raising concerns over patient safety; and they never will be. Mr Pitman has not been actively working at the hospital for two years and the questions surrounding his dismissal will be resolved at an employment tribunal later this year.”

After months of the British Medical Association pressurising the trust to release a statement on Martyn Pitman’s dismissal, Mr Pitman posted a statement himself, emailing GPs and sharing on social media as he felt his colleagues were owed the truth about his departure.

His dismissal notice on X, formerly known as Twitter, has received around 300,000 views.

Mr Pitman said: “I didn’t think it was my place to tell people what had happened and why but the trust told me it doesn’t post dismissal notices.”

However, staff have since received emails announcing the departure of other senior staff members such as chief medical officer Dr Laura Alloway, Winchester head of midwifery Marie Watkins and director of midwifery, Fay Corder, as seen in posts shared on the Facebook group.

The three-week employment tribunal starts on Monday, September 25 at West Hampshire Magistrates Court in Southampton.