I read last week’s coverage of Professor Banfield’s comments on the ‘culture of fear’ within the local healthcare system with a mixture of bewilderment and dismay.
There is no doubt that some colleagues have been unfairly treated over the years.
Certain colleagues finding themselves in this position have quite rightly stood their ground, been vindicated in tribunal and been awarded substantial damages.
Others have lacked the fortitude, willingness or financial means to do so, instead choosing to stay silent, to retire or to leave the isle altogether.
It is indeed true that several senior doctors (consultants and GPs) attending last week’s meeting with Professor Banfield, hosted by the Isle of Man Medical Society, expressed an enduring reluctance to speak up for fear of reprisal.
However, this sentiment was certainly not universal, for most junior colleagues and more recently appointed consultants did not share this view.
No show of hands was called to substantiate this view as universal.
Indeed, some of us spoke of our own failure, as a body of local professionals, to communicate effectively, to remain cohesive and to stand up for colleagues subjected to such treatment.
None of this is meant to detract from Professor Banfield’s commentary on Dr Ranson’s case, which is timely and appropriate.
However, to infer from this case and from some colleagues’ views that we work ‘in a culture of fear that is among the worst in the British Isles’, within a ‘corrupt system’, is hyperbolic, misguided and ultimately unhelpful to both doctors and patients on this isle.
For most of us, coming to work on the Isle of Man is the best decision we’ve ever made, both personally and professionally.
Bullies are everywhere, but are no more prevalent on this rock than on any other.
You and your readers may rest assured that we are unafraid of speaking up; and that future instances of treatment of the sort that Dr Ranson was subjected to will not go unchallenged.
Dr Joannis Vamvakopoulos
Consultant endocrinologist and internist
This letter was first published in the Isle of Man Examiner of May 23.
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