AFTER more than four years of “trauma”, a highly esteemed doctor has shared why he really thinks his NHS trust fired him.

Winchester maternity consultant and obstetrician, Martyn Pitman, was sacked by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) at the beginning of March in what former patients and staff are describing as a “four-year witch hunt”.

The obstetrician says he has been silenced by the trust since he first blew the whistle on patient and staff safety in 2019, when staffing at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital fell below the minimum requirement for safe care.

Those safety issues emerged after the NHS trusts based in Winchester and Basingstoke in 2012.

Following the news of his failed appeal hearing last week, Mr Pitman is now speaking out in hope of preventing the same from happening to others.

READ MORE: Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust fire 'life-saving' doctor Martyn Pitman

Mr Pitman, 57, said: “It’s like a grieving process. You work so hard and for so long to achieve what I achieved and to now look down the barrel of the loss of that is a heck of a price to pay.

“I acted as a spokesperson to the midwives because they’d lost confidence and faith in their direct midwifery line managers so they used me as a sounding board. I was then accused of bullying, harassment and undermining behaviour by a group of the senior midwifery management team.

“The reason for my ultimate dismissal was an alleged irretrievable breakdown with members of the trust’s senior management which in reality equates to a very small number of individuals.

“I whistle blew about patient safety concerns and spiralling morale within the midwifery workforce. It became obvious that our ability to manage basic clinical processes was being limited by appallingly low staffing levels.

“I raised concerns about the maternal death that happened at Winchester in March 2021 and how it was handled by the trust. This was one of several factors that made them believe that it would not be beneficial to have me on their payroll anymore.”

SEE ALSO: More than 10,000 sign petition to save Winchester Emergency Department

The consultant, who lives in South Wonston, believes some of the problems stemmed from when Basingstoke and North Hants Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust merged with the Winchester and Eastleigh NHS Trust to form Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2012.

Mr Pitman continued: “Before the merger, Winchester was a very popular place to work and the maternity unit had a very good reputation. When we merged we hoped to elevate the standard of care of Basingstoke up to the level we were achieving in Winchester.

“Winchester has always been very proud of its consultant-led service and having a very good multidisciplinary relationship with our midwifery colleagues. Whereas Basingstoke had a very midwifery-led ethos and was pro-normalisation, encouraging ladies to go down the route of vaginal delivery when perhaps a more medical model could be more appropriate and safer for their babies.

READ ALSO: Fired Hampshire doctor Martyn Pitman breaks silence on dismissal

“There were challenges and differences of opinion with the midwifery management group, all of which came from Basingstoke which meant it was almost impossible for any Winchester-originating midwives to professionally achieve any senior management positions.

“That situation made me vulnerable and then when I decided to whistle blow that gave that group the ability to try and take me out.

“Would I do the same tomorrow if I was still working in the organisation and saw what I saw back then – categorically yes because I still believe it was right. I certainly don’t regret what I did because I did it with the best intentions for the patients of Winchester and my midwifery colleagues.

“Every single one of the allegations I made in terms of patient and staff safety then proved to be spot on and were reinforced by an unannounced CQC visit in 2020, which produced a pretty condemning report in 2021.

“Every single deficiency that that investigation raised was nearly exactly what was raised nearly two years ago. The scary thing was that senior members claimed that they had no idea that any of these problems which is completely disingenuous.

“By dismissing me they have lost 30 years of experience, including 20 years of consultant experience and that isn’t easy to replace. The level of training that I received just doesn’t happen anymore.

“There is an endemic culture of fear in the organisation because of the way that I have been treated. If somebody of my level of experience and stature can be dismissed for simply raising concerns, why would anybody else do the same.”

Mr Pitman has been backed by the British Medical Association and more than a thousand former patients and colleagues who've expressed support in the Facebook Group 'Friends of Martyn Pitman' ahead of his employment tribunal in October.