A top heart specialist, sacked following whistleblowing allegations, has halved his legal claim for over £14 million after being dubbed “greedy” by the trust that employed him.
Internationally renowned Raj Mattu is now seeking around £7 million, a Birmingham employment tribunal heard.
That, however, would still be the biggest compensation deal for a sacked doctor, eclipsing the £4.5 million awarded to Dr Eva Michalak for race and sex discrimination in 2011.
Dr Muttu reasoned the award should include £2.9 million for a house in London where he lived before taking a job with Warwickshire NHS Trust and University Hospitals of Coventry.
“I need to return to London after being forced out of my job,” he said.
Tribunal judge Mrs Pauline Hughes ruled Dr Muttu had been unfairly dismissed. A claim of race discrimination by the doctor had been rejected, however.
Dr Mattu, who earned £70,000-a-year, had been dismissed in 2010 after being suspended for almost eight years.
The medic had alleged his complaints that five patients were put in a ward designed for four at Walsgrave Hospital , Coventry, which, he claimed, led to the death of one of them, had been ignored by bosses.
The 54-year-old, from Coventry, had appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme, revealing, in the opinion of medical staff, at least two patients died unnecessarily on over-crowded wards. He had been “vilified and bullied” as a result of making the disclosures, a previous hearing was told.
Speaking after the tribunal found in his favour, Dr Muttu said: “The trust did everything to prolong my suspension and prevent a settlement and when they couldn’t get rid of me by another other means they sacked me in my absence when I was ill.”
He initially made a legal claim for £14,350,000. Mr John Cavanagh QC, representing the Trust at a remedy hearing to decide the scale of the award, accused Dr Mattu of being “greedy”.
Barrister Miss Jane McNeill, representing Dr Mattu, later said he agreed to reduce the claim to about £7,000,000.
Earlier, the Trust protested against the £14,350,000 claim and accused Dr Mattu of exaggerating the reasons.
Mr Cavanagh questioned whether it was right for the £2.9 million to be included for a house in Hampden, London, considering tax payers would be helping Dr Mattu to make a profit should he later sell the property.
Dr Mattu said he had previously lived in Hampden Gardens but that house prices were now too high there and that he would live in a cheaper part of Hampden. “I have chosen an area that would maximise the costs,” he added.
Mr Cavanagh said there were cheaper areas of London, such as Camden and Barnet, where house prices were much lower.
A decision will be made at a later date.