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Ask Senior Partner Your Own Question
Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13325
Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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I was sacked from doctors surgery for breach of confidentiality,

Customer Question

I was sacked from doctors surgery for breach of confidentiality, I was getting letters from these patients, and looked in there nites, I already was told to keep conflict out if workplace but was stress and torture from them, I don't think this was taking into consideration , can I appeal
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
Can you explain the nature of the letters you were getting form patients and why you were told to keep conflict out of the workplace?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It all started as a comment on face book, nothing sinister , that hubby having an affair, etc, but the point is I was stressed with these and broke confidentiality, but I don't think they took this into consideration, also they rang my workplace and telling me off and nobody liked me working there, do I have right to appeal dismissal and just hand in notice. Thanks
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
You have not really explained the issue fully. Of course you can appeal dismissal - everyone has the right of appeal but to be successful you need to establish a justification or at least substantial mitigation for breaching confidentiality. Although surely if you work there you can access records - did you do something else such as use the information? You say "they " did not take proper account but what was it that they should have taken account of ? Were you subject to treatment by patients that the practice should have protected you from?

Handing in your notice will have no real effect if you have been dismissed unless they agree to allow you to resign rather than be dismissed and they do not have to do that. If you appeal and are reinstated you could then resign certainly.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Have done this job for 20 years and was only looking for myself as stress they put me under and I know nothing goes pass my lips when I leave the surgery, but feel no help was given to me re outside life and I was under a lot of stress re this, what justification do I have?
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
Sorry but I do not know . You have not explained why you were put under stress. All you have mentioned is a facebook post.
Being dismissed after 20 years seems excessive if all you did was look at patient records but there must surely be more to it than that? Why should you not look at records when you work in the Surgery? What did you do with the information you looked at.

If you want to appeal you need to show that the offence was not sufficiently serious so as to justify instant dismissal after 20 years or even if it was there were circumstances which led you to that conduct and that should be taken in ot account in determining what action to take. It is perfectly legitimate to complain if you asked for help with issues and they failed to offer support

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The stress was from the patient telephoning me and saying nobody liked me working there, letters about my husband having an affair , I felt as though I was being watched by them, but the surgery told me not to mix work without , but only knew these people as patients and they knew they could get at me because if where I worked , did 'nt use the information only for curiosity for myself, be in and out of records all the time, but it was the two patients I went into and it was not work related, and they said they carried an audit out that day!
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 3 years ago.
Well if that is the case it seems to me that you have a legitimate complaint against the surgery - If you were being subject to personal attacks by patients then the surgery should have taken action to protect you including threatening to exclude them, It is ridiculous to say that that was mixing work with outside life if the harassment was caused by work. I think you should make that point very forcefully because on the basis of what you say it sounds as if you have a claim for unfair dismissal. Accessing records if you did not disclose or use any data is not that serious and they should have tried to protect you from these patients.

So I would appeal making tow points. One there was no breach of confidence because you never used any of the data for any purpose and so it was not gross misconduct. Secondly you only looked at their records out of interest because the surgery was failing to protect you from harassment by there patients.