Surgeon who failed to spot writer Ruth Picardie’s fatal breast cancer is struck off medical register 14 years later
Why did it take so long?
A surgeon has been struck off from the medical register 14 years after the death from breast cancer of writer Ruth Picardie. Puvaneswary Markandoo failed to diagnose the disease in time to save the Observer journalist.
Markandoo, 64, lacked the competence of a newly-qualified doctor, said a General Medical Council assessment panel. It said ‘fundamental failings’ in basic clinical medicine made her a danger to patients and were irremediable.
She was implicated over the deaths in 1997 at London’s Guy’s hospital of 33-year-old Picardie and that of her friend Beth Wagstaff two years later. Ms Wagstaff, who co-founded the Lavender Trust in Picardie’s honour also died from breast cancer.
Lawyers for both victims successfully sued Guys for medical negligence, but Markandoo left the NHS trust before the case was settled and went on to get a job at Barnsley hospital, South Yorkshire. The £122,000 a year Malaysian-born consultant was suspended on full pay after botching many operations while working there between 2005 and 2008, the GMC heard.
The hospital paid out nearly £700,000 to 19 women after over 30 complaints about the surgeon’s work.
She was stopped from working privately, but although the GMC found failings in 11 aspects of her medical skills, she was allowed to carry on treating NHS patients under supervision.
Now, after the latest GMC investigation, the surgeon, who qualified as a doctor 34 years ago, has been stopped from working altogether.
Markandoo’s career at NHS hospitals, including a temporary job in general surgery in Warrington in 2010, was highlighted at the disciplinary hearing. Colleagues felt it was not safe to leave her on call.
A lawyer for Picardie and Wagstaff told the panel that she and the clients’ families tried to find out where Markandoo had gone after Guy’s, but were unable to do so.
Picardie was told by Markandoo that a lump she found in her breast was harmless and did not need surgery, despite a lab report saying it was probably benign, but recommending it should be cut out. Two years later after giving birth to twins, the lump was the size of a golf ball and aggressive cancer was diagnosed. Within a year she was dead.
British Labour Party is led by the privileged class
A close ally of Ed Miliband has attacked Labour’s leadership for being too elitist – meaning it fails to connect with working-class people. Lord Glasman, a leading academic and friend of the Labour leader, said senior politicians in the party were drawn from ‘too narrow’ a group of Oxbridge graduates. He warned that their privileged backgrounds had become a ‘crucial’ problem for the party.
Mr Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls both have degrees in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford.
Lord Glasman’s comments will add to Mr Miliband’s woes following a series of disastrous polls showing that his support is falling. A recent ICM survey gave the Conservatives a six-point lead over Labour, putting them on 40 per cent, up two points in two weeks.
Labour had fallen by two points to 34 per cent, meaning the Conservatives are enjoying one of their biggest poll leads since the 2010 General Election.
In an interview with the Labour Diversity Fund website, Lord Glasman said: ‘One of the crucial problems we have as a party is that we have brought our leadership in from much too narrow a group.
‘Basically Oxbridge graduates, in particular economics graduates, politics graduates, social scientists and lawyers. We need to reconnect to working-class communities, we have to reconnect to ethnic minority communities and bring up real leaders from within the people we represent.’
However, Labour sources hit back, pointing out that the Shadow Cabinet is more diverse in background than the Cabinet. More than half of the 23-strong coalition Cabinet went to Oxford or Cambridge and the majority were privately educated.
Eight members of the Shadow Cabinet had an Oxbridge education.
Maurice Glasman has been dubbed Mr Miliband’s ‘de facto chief of staff’ by party insiders and has written speeches for him.
But he has made a series of attacks on Labour, accusing the party earlier this year of having ‘lied’ to the British people about the extent of immigration.
His comments about the Oxbridge backgrounds of Labour’s leaders came after a leading Tory policy thinker warned that the working class is being excluded from politics. David Skelton, deputy director of the No 10-friendly thinktank Policy Exchange, said: ‘Politics today is notable for its absence of leaders and leading figures from working-class backgrounds. ‘Working-class people are again being shut out from Parliament’s long corridors.’
‘We were fired for being white and Christian’, claim principal and his wife dismissed from Dubai-backed ‘multicultural’ college in Scotland
A principal and his wife have been sacked from a college whose stated aim is to promote multiculturalism because they are white Christians, they claim. Professor Malory Nye, 47, says he was dismissed from the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education in Dundee, Scotland, because his race and religion were seen by his superiors as a threat to its core Muslim values.
He says the college’s claims to pursuing multicultural values were a charade and that he was dismissed so he could be replaced by a Muslim.
His wife Isabel Campbell-Nye, 42, alleges she was forced from her position as head of the English language centre because she attracted too many students who were not Muslims or Arabs.
The independent college, whose patron is Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, advertises itself as a research-led institution ‘that promotes a greater understanding of different religions and cultures in a multicultural context, for the benefit of the wider community’.
The couple are taking the college to an employment tribunal claiming racial and religious discrimination, and unfair dismissal.
Mrs Campbell-Nye is also claiming sex discrimination after she was suspended and later dismissed apparently because she is married to Prof Nye.
The couple, from Perth, were marched off the college grounds in June and have not been allowed to return since. They claim they were given no reason for their suspensions and were dismissed in November despite no evidence of any wrongdoing.
The couple have also lodged grievances against the chancellor of the College Lord Elder – a Labour peer and close friend of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown – for his handling of what they describe as a ‘sham’ disciplinary process.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of Dubai, is patron of the college
Prof Nye and his wife began working at the college eight and four years ago respectively, choosing to marry on the campus last year.
However, they believe their attempts at pushing it in a more cosmopolitan direction angered their superiors. Prof Nye said his suspension came just days after he changed the college’s name from the ‘Al-Maktoum Institute for Arabic and Islamic studies’.
The couple allege that Abubaker Abubaker, the director of operations, and Mirza al-Sayegh, chairman of its board of directors and private secretary to the Sheikh, decided to force them out because they were British, white and Christian.
Prof Nye told the Telegraph: ‘It is clear to me that there is collusion between these two individuals that I should be removed from my position on the basis that I am not an Arab and not a Muslim and that the person who has the role of principal should be Arab and/or Muslim.
‘Multiculturalism and respect for cultural and religious differences are, I had thought, core values of the college. ‘However, I believe that such inclusive multiculturalism no longer fits the particular type of multicultural vision of certain managers and the chairman, that is accepting of different cultures, so long as the majority of students are Muslims and/or Arabs and the ethos is distinctly Islamic. ‘My face and lack of Muslim faith no longer fit.’
Mrs Campbell-Nye says Mr Abubaker also wanted her removed from her position because she had attracted too many European and Asian students, who weren’t Muslim, to her English course at the college, which receives no public funding.
She said: ‘Some are from Arab and other Muslim backgrounds. However, a substantial number are from other parts of the world and other cultures. ‘I believe Mr Abubaker does not feel happy with us recruiting students from these backgrounds as it does not fit the particular multicultural vision he has for English language.
‘The only times Mr Abubaker has encouraged me to bring in students to English language are when they are Arabs or Muslims.
‘I believe that Mr Abubaker’s discrimination against me, because I am not Muslim, I am not Arab, and I am also a woman – and because I have brought a number of non Muslim/non-Arab students to the college – is a significant reason for my suspension.’
Despite a waiting list for places on its English language courses, the college closed the department last month, leaving its two remaining tutors redundant at Christmas.
The college, which operates as a charity in partnership with the University of Aberdeen, advertises in its prospectus that ‘multiculturalism is at the centre of our vision and structure’. ‘Our multicultural ethos is visibly translated and implemented in our day-to-day operation. Our staff and students come from diverse national, cultural and religious backgrounds including Muslims and non-Muslims,’ it says.
A spokesman for the college said: ‘We can confirm that we have been notified that Employment Tribunal proceedings have been raised in the name of Professor Malory Nye and his wife, Isabel Campbell-Nye.
‘The College, an independent, not-for-profit charity, places diversity, religious pluralism and multiculturalism firmly at the core of its Higher Education programmes – and its day-to-day activities,’ the spokesman said. ‘The Al-Maktoum College will vigorously defend its reputation as a centre of excellence within the higher dducation sector and the good name it has won over the last ten years here in Dundee, nationally and internationally.
‘Professor Nye was dismissed from his post as Principal at the College following a period of suspension on full pay and an inquiry conducted by the College Chancellor. ‘Contingency plans were put in place to ensure the continued smooth running of the College. ‘We are in consultation with our team of legal advisers and, as a result, we are not in a position to discuss the matter further at this stage.’
British bad boy in action again
“Jeremy Clarkson has been accused of offensive behaviour once again after mocking Indian culture in a Top Gear Christmas special.
Viewers have complained to the BBC after the outspoken presenter made a series of controversial remarks about the country’s clothing, trains, food and history.
At one point, Clarkson appeared to make light of the lack of sanitation for poor residents by driving around slums in a Jaguar fitted with a toilet.
Showing off the car’s convenience, he boasted: “This is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots.”
Many viewers took to social networks and internet message boards to voice their objections about the show, in which the Top Gear team set out to boost British trade links with the subcontinent.
Owen Hathway tweeted: “Whats wrong with the BBC that they think casual racist stereotyping is acceptable on top gear?”
In one scene, Jeremy Clarkson is seen taking off his trousers in front of two Indian dignitaries to show them how to use a trouser press.
In another, the Top Gear team place banners promoting British industry on trains. One read, ‘British IT is good for your company’, and another, ‘Eat English muffins’. But the message became intentionally obscene when the carriages of the trains separate and the banner splits.
That slogan on the train was very rude. I think it does Clarkson no credit: Schoolboy humor. More pictures here. Gratuitously insulting his hosts is neither clever nor funny.
I think I am more than usually bothered by Clarkson’s antics on this occasion because I like Indians. And I put my money where my mouth is: I have been to India three times and I have Indians living with me in my house.
The one redeeming feature of this affair is that the Indians would barely have comprehended what Clarkson was doing. If they did, they would probably have concluded that he is mad. It would not occur to them that they were dealing with a 5-year-old in a man’s body.