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Consultant fights sacking over "racist" comments

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A white doctor dismissed for making “racist” comments that were secretly recorded has told an employment tribunal he has been treated differently because of his colour.

Consultant Peter Hale told the South London Employment Tribunal that he was targeted because he was white.

Mr Hale was sacked by the Royal Sussex County Hospital after a recording at the end of a staff meeting heard him make reference to “these sub-continent elements.”

He denies the comment was racist and was intended as a general comment on the difficulties faced by doctors outside the EU coming to work in the NHS.

He said: “It’s obvious that I regret that some of the things that I said have been interpreted to mean things that I did not mean to.

“In that sense I regret that I said them in the way that I did because it has caused offence and I am not in the business of causing offence.

“So I regret causing offence; it was not my intention.”

But he added: “I think you should be able to express forceful opinions in private meetings.

“The issue is that these people took offence at something they had obtained completely inappropriately.

“For example if I put a recording device in the chief executive’s office I would hear things that are not meant for me.

“I think it is very, very unethical to record private conversations.”

Mr Hale’s claim against the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is for unfair dismissal and discrimination.

The trust said it took into account Mr Hale’s behaviour at the time and his depression – he was signed of work due to this in February 2014.

The recordings were made by four doctors, one from Pakistan and three from India. Their own case for racial discrimination against the trust was thrown out in November when it was revealed they had secretly recorded a private meeting between the trust’s lawyers about their case.