Doctor, 44, accused of bullying by a nurse he told off is cleared

Doctor, 44, who was accused of bullying after he told off a nurse on a busy A&E unit is cleared of wrongdoing after she admitted she ‘didn’t like to be told what to do’

  • Dr Shaukat Ali, 44, faced career ruin after 19 years in medicine from the claims
  • A nurse – who can only be referred to as Ms A – made string of complaints
  • But they were all thrown out after she admitted ‘I don’t like to be told what to do’ 

A senior doctor accused of bullying a nurse on a busy A&E unit has been cleared after tribunal accepted he was just being ‘assertive’ whilst giving out orders.

Dr Shaukat Ali, 44, faced career ruin after 19 years in medicine following claims he berated the woman for ‘moaning’ and suggested she work in a supermarket as patients were being rushed into X-Ray or needed life saving emergency treatment.

It was claimed the locum consultant who was the duty doctor in charge of A&E at hospitals in the West Midlands told the nurse: ‘Hurry up and push her to have x-ray, quick, you don’t know your job. I must tell you your job’.

In other rebukes he would allegedly ‘get in the face’ of Ms A and tell her: ‘You aren’t doing your job properly! What did they tell you in handover? Are you really a nurse? Why do you come here to moan? Why don’t you go and work in a supermarket? Be professional.’

Ali was also said to have told a colleague that the nurse known as Ms A only came to work ‘to socialise’ and when he saw her straightening her bra strap, told her: ‘Why are you touching yourself? Are you sure you are the corridor nurse?’.

Ms A later reported Ali to police claiming he had also run his hand down her back along her bra-strap after touching her on the shoulder to get her attention. Detectives took no action but the nurse then referred the doctor to the General Medical Council for a disciplinary investigation.

At the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, Ali faced being struck off but was cleared of bullying and sexual misconduct after he said he worked in ‘high-pressured busy department’ and would speak assertively as he ‘needed to ensure things were done.’ He denied any sexual contact with the woman.

Some of the claims were made about from the time when Dr Ali was at Heartland’s Hospital

The Manchester tribunal was also handed a copy of a Whatsapp message sent by Ms A to a colleague accusing doctors of ‘meddling.’ It read: ‘He is dumb! He written his 5 like an 8 on the X-ray card. Then X-ray took number 8. Then they check in and her name was wrong.

‘But he wanted to tell me off for pt in 5 not having her X-ray. Then he told me to hurry up and take Pt to X-ray quick! Doctors there meddle in our work!’

The hearing was told Ali had been been working at Russell Hall Hospital, Dudley and at Heartland’s Hospital in Birmingham at the time of the incidents between January 2018 and October 2018.

Ms A claimed in one incident Ali touched her on the shoulder and ran his hand down her back along her bra strap until he reached the clasp of her bra and told her: ‘You can touch me but I’m not allowed to touch you like this.’

She further alleged Ali stood in close proximity to her in another incident and brushed his trousers against her buttocks as she knelt down to clean an ECG machine.

Ms A claimed the bullying started after Ali failed to respond to his sexual advances said she had ‘issues previously with other colleagues being touchy-feely.’ She told the hearing: ‘I have found it is quite common in the workplace that people are looking for more than just a work colleague relationship. Dr Ali was very ‘touchy-feely and in your face.’

Dr Ali’s 19 years as a medical professional also saw him work at Russell Hall Hospital

Ali admitted touching Ms A on the shoulder to get her attention but said he had little recollection of any of the events as described by her.

He told the hearing: ‘In a high-pressured busy Accident and Emergency department, I need to ensure actions are taken where things needed to be done.

‘Whilst the way I may have spoken to colleagues could have been perceived by them in a particular way, in pressured and urgent situations I may sometimes speak to colleagues in an assertive way, but not in a way that was bullying.’

Clearing Ali, MPTS chairman Ian Comfort said: ‘Both Ms A and Dr Ali agreed it was accepted practice to touch a colleague on their shoulder or elbow to get their attention in the busy environment of an Accident and Emergency department.

‘But the Tribunal determined that there was no evidence Dr Ali had either gained any sexual gratification from, or pursued a future sexual relationship with Ms A in the act of touching her on the shoulder.

‘Ms A had the perception Dr Ali was pursuing her in an inappropriate manner but this account was not supported by any contemporaneous or supporting witness evidence.

‘Dr Ali was overall in charge of the Accident and Emergency department and was responsible for its efficient and effective functioning. As a manager, it would be necessary for him to speak with staff about their performance.

‘The Tribunal was mindful of Ms A’s sensitivity to comments made by doctors and by her own admission that she did not like to be told what needed to be done.

‘Given the dictionary definition of bullying, it was the intent behind Dr Ali’s comments and behaviour, rather than the perception of Ms A of the comments and behaviour that determined whether it amounted to bullying.

‘Dr Ali was overall responsible for what happened in the Accident and Emergency department and it would be reasonable for him to ensure

specific tasks were completed in the treatment and care of patients.

‘The Tribunal considered each of the matters including the evidence of words, actions and context. It noted that Dr Ali had little or no

recollection of matters raised by Ms A and the Tribunal considered that there was scant evidence to support Ms A’s assertions.’

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