It has been reported by This is Cornwall that Martin Watts, the former chairman of the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust board, is taking his former employer to the Employment Tribunal in a bid to be reinstated to the RCHT board after he resigned earlier this year.
Mr Watts, the former chairman of the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (“RCHT”), is reportedly pursuing an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal after he resigned from his post earlier this year. His resignation came amid reports that he had “intimidated” staff and became angry with a nurse caring for his elderly mother-in-law – reports that Mr Watts has denied. His resignation subsequently caused a mass departure from the board, with three other non-executive directors resigning after he left the board.
The former chairman told the RCHT board at the Annual General Meeting that he was taking the NHS Trust Development Authority and RCHT to an employment tribunal in a case for constructive unfair dismissal. He said that the litigation would allow him to “confirm the exact sequence of events and fully explore the subsequent actions of Lezli Boswell, the chief executive of the RCHT, and David Flory, chief executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority.
Mr Watts also released the following statement: “My aim in this legal action will be to hold both Mr Flory and Ms Boswell fully to account, to receive a public apology from them and to be reinstated by the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, to fulfil my role as appointed Chairman of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust to 16 March 2017.”
RCHT declined to comment on the case. However, the BBC‘s health correspondent for BBC South-West reported that the RCHT is concerned about Mr Watts’ action because of the backlog of work that they have to do – work which they believe will be affected by a diversion of resources into Mr Watts’ case.
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Constructive unfair dismissal cases can, unless the circumstances are right, be difficult to deal with – claimants must not only show that there was a fundamental breach of contract, which is a difficult test, but also that this breach was the cause of their resignation and that they resigned sufficiently quickly after the breach so as not to waive any breach of contract. We’ll have to wait and see how Mr Watts’ legal action plays out.”