The return of Hope and sanity

Lynda Lee-Potter

Last updated at 09:24 28 April 2004

Neurosurgeon Terence Hope is back in the operating theatre at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. He was suspended and accused of theft when he took too much soup in the hospital canteen.

He's been allowed to do his job because headlines around the world have revealed the NHS Trust to be petty, stupid and not fit to run a betting shop, let alone a huge hospital.

If the shaming incident had not been exposed in the newspapers, no doubt Terence Hope would still be tending his garden, and traumatised patients would be living in fear for their lives.

I've had countless emails from Mr Hope's former patients extolling his brilliance, humanity and care. Tragically, those who run the hospital have learned nothing and remain intransigent and unrepentant.

'The Trust,' they say, 'would only ever make a decision to suspend a member of staff after considering all of the information available and also the impact on both the individual and on patient care.' Clearly, they have no plans to change. Presumably, the next doctors who take two more croutons than they should or spread their bread with too much butter will be accused of thieving and ordered home.

How can the Trust possibly deny this would savagely impact on patient care?

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