The chairman of the tribunal between Dr Rosalind Ranson and the government today expressed the panel’s dissatisfaction with the former medical director’s latest claims.
Dr Ranson is seeking to progress a second complaint against the Department of Health and Social Care, which relates to detriments that allegedly happened to her beyond those proved in the first tribunal.
Douglas Stewart told the tribunal that in April 2022, Dr Ranson made a second complaint against the DHSC which was immediately stayed pending the outcome of the first complaint, being that she was unfairly dismissed after making protected disclosures.
The complaint had to be submitted on April 25, 2022, as April 26 would have seen the timeframe on potential legal action close due to when she left her role.
However, on July 18, 2022, Mr Stewart said he was told by Dr Ranson’s legal team that she would be withdrawing the second complaint after the remedy hearings had been concluded.
He was asked to extend the stay on that complaint and agreed to do so on the understanding it would later be withdrawn.
Mr Stewart said: ‘On May 23 last month, [law firm] CallinWild, on behalf of the DHSC wrote to Dr Ranson’s solicitors expecting the second complaint now to be withdrawn.
‘However, surprisingly, based on the pleaded case that the second complaint was protective only, on May 25 Dr Ranson’s solicitors replied like this: “It is incorrect to suggest that the second complaint was filed on a protective basis only.
“The claim was brought in addition to the claim under case number 21/20 and is concerned with determinants that Dr Ranson suffered in addition to those pleaded in that first claim.
“We are considering with our client whether this claim should be progressed, at this stage it is not withdrawn.”
Mr Stewart later revealed that Dr Ranson has said she wants to continue with the second complaint and seek further compensation, a move which is firmly resisted by the DHSC.
The panel chair said: ‘By way of comment, I consider it most unlikely that back in July 2022 I would have granted an open-ended stay of proceedings until after the end of the remedy hearings had it not been for the assertions that the intention of commencing a second complaint was protective only and that following the remedy hearing it would be withdrawn.’
Mr Stewart said that he would likely have directed that both complaints would be dealt with in one go to form a single action to reach a final conclusion to the entire case.
Instead, he said Dr Ranson this would have prevented what he and the panel saw, as a ‘second bite of the cherry’.
He added that the panel is now concerned about potential prejudice against the DHSC and the extra cost to the Manx taxpayer through extra litigation which ‘ought to have been meaningless’.
As the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on this matter during a break in proceedings, it now seems likely that the DHSC will seek to have the complaint struck out, which itself will require a new hearing.
The tribunal also heard that the continuing talks over costs for Dr Ranson’s legal team have yet to be finalised.
While the DHSC has agreed that the taxpayer will cover 70% of the British Medical Association’s costs, agreement has not been reached over how much Dr Ranson’s husband, Damian Falkowski, who represented her in the early stages of proceedings, should be paid.
A third matter over Tynwald’s request for all documents relevant to the investigation into the DHSC’s conduct during the tribunal also failed to reach a final conclusion.
However, in that instance the DHSC’s representative has said the department’s intention is for all documentation to be given over to the Clerk of Tynwald.