Belfast Telegraph

Doctor sacked over performance deficiencies wins a preliminary legal battle in unfair dismissal case

By Alan Erwin

A cash-strapped doctor sacked due to performance deficiencies today won a preliminary legal battle in her unfair dismissal case.

Senior judges quashed orders for Dr Malgorzata Stadnik-Borowiec to deposit more than £3,000 before she can press ahead with industrial tribunal cases.

She has issued proceedings against the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, claiming unfair dismissal.

Her contract as a salaried GP was terminated in January 2012 following findings by the General Medical Council.

The body had imposed conditions on her registration after concluding that her fitness to practice was impaired by deficient professional performance.

Its determination was based on a probe undertaken by the National Clinical Assessment Service.

An allegation had been made against her that she refused to visit a terminally ill patient at home despite three separate requests from the family.

The Court of Appeal also heard she allegedly administered an overdose of medication to another patient which would have been fatal if there had been a respiratory arrest.

Dr Stadnik-Borowiec, whose nationality was not disclosed, worked as a locum in Letterkenny before coming to Northern Ireland.

She is claiming unlawful dismissal and deduction of wages, breach of contract, racial and sexual discrimination in a case against a series of health authorities.

As conditions of allowing her to continue with the industrial tribunal actions she was ordered to make deposits totaling £3,500.

One of these was paid by taking out a benefits agency loan, to be repaid at a rate of £7 a week.

Representing herself in an appeal against the deposit orders, Dr Stadnik-Borowiec argued that they were unlawful and disproportionate with her ability to pay them.

She also contended that the tribunal had no power to make multiples orders.

Ruling on her appeal, Lord Justice Coghlin pointed to evidence of the GP being on benefits and in severe financial difficulties due to her inability to work as a doctor.

One of the deposit conditions imposed was six times the maximum amount under the relevant rules.

Lord Justice Coghlin, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Mr Justice Weatherup, ruled that the deposit orders should be quashed.

Instead, Dr Stadnik-Borowiec will only have to put down £200.

The judge added: "We consider that these cases should now be remitted to a new tribunal for the purposes of case management."

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