An osteopath who claims the “arbitrary, oppressive and unconstitutional” behaviour of States officials tore his personal and professional life apart, has launched a civil claim against the Health Minister.
Documents currently before the Royal Court detail the latest development in an ongoing ‘tug of war’ between Badrul Huda and the Health Department over the way an allegation from one of the osteopath’s former patients was handled.
Central to Mr Huda’s claim is his belief that the department believed what he says were unfounded allegations made by a patient in relation to the treatment they were receiving and that the complaint was referred to his professional body without either consulting him or conducting a full investigation.
Due to the particular patient’s vulnerability, the complaint triggered an adult safeguarding process which resulted in a referral to the regulatory body for osteopaths in the UK.
Pictured: The dispute is ongoing between the osteopath and the States Health department.
When the patient’s allegations were referred to the General Osteopathic Council (GOC) – where Mr Huda is registered as a medical practitioner – the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence, but he maintains that his reputation and mental health have suffered by the way the department handled the process.
Mr Huda’s grievance was last year upheld by the States Complaints Board (SCB) – an independent panel tasked with investigating unresolved disputes with States departments – a result which was not accepted by Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf.
The Minister’s response to the Board’s finding garnered a highly critical rebuttal from its members who accused Deputy Renouf of attempting “to disguise, and even justify, what was a critical failure.”
Now, Mr Huda is seeking reimbursement from the Health Department, “...in respect of the injury, loss and damage the investigation and complaint to the GOC have caused.”
He claims that not only did the Health Department display “negligence” in the handling of the patient’s allegation, but also that they acted “maliciously” against Mr Huda.
Pictured: The current Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf.
Elsewhere in the documents, Mr Huda’s lawyer states that the Health Minister’s “officials’ and employees’ behaviour was arbitrary, oppressive and unconstitutional.”
Elaborating on the impact these proceedings had on Mr Huda, his legal team state within the civil claim that the osteopath has suffered “injury by way of depression, anxiety and PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder].”
The document explains that Mr Huda already suffered from PTSD due to a past experience, but this case has “caused the symptoms to assert themselves” once again.
“He has suffered from sleep deprivation, nightmares and terrible memories of past trauma. He is depressed, anxious, grinds his teeth and has withdrawn from social contact.”
In terms of redress, Mr Huda is seeking compensation for loss of income, expenses and legal fees to deal with the referral to his professional body, psychological and dental treatment costs, the loss of the sale value of his business, and ongoing medical treatment.
In response to Mr Huda’s claim, the Health’s legal team flatly deny causing “any injury, loss or damage” to the osteopath or that “it has been negligent or committed misfeasance in public office."
The Health Department say that there is no obligation within the safeguarding procedures which would entitle Mr Huda to “a right of reply prior to determining whether a referral to the GOC should be made.”
Pictured: The civil case is now laid out in documents before the Royal Court.
In response to Mr Huda’s claim that the department owed him a duty of care to undertake the safeguarding investigation “fairly,” they say: “The duty of care when a safeguarding alert has been raised is owed to the adult at risk, not the individual alleged to have caused harm.”
Elsewhere in their response to the osteopath’s civil claim, the department says: “Given the genuinely held concerns on behalf of [the Health Minister], the referral to the GOC was entirely appropriate, proper and proportionate in the circumstances.”
The department insist that “there was no bad faith or malice… whatsoever,” in the way they handled this patient’s complaint and that “the actions of [the Health Minister] were at all times taken in the best interests of safeguarding [the patient] and in ensuring any concerns, including possible harm to the wider public, were addressed appropriately.”
In relation to Mr Huda’s allegation of negligence, the department say: “Any negligence on behalf of [the Health Minister] is denied. In any event, the claim is ill-founded. There was no duty of care owed to [Mr Huda] in the circumstance, upon which a claim of negligence can be founded upon.”
The department also deny responsibility for Mr Huda’s suspension whilst the investigation by the GOC was underway as they say this was the professional body’s own procedure and nothing to do with the Health Minister or officials.
The case continues.
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