London : Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS) has spent over a million pounds to keep an Indian-origin surgeon off work since 2011, after he raised patient safety concerns at the facility, reports PTI.

 The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust hospital in Staffordshire sent liver surgeon Ditya Agrawal, 43, home on full pay in 2011 after he spoke about his fears over working practices at the hospital.

The hospital has since paid legal bills of at least £250,000 fighting Agrawal’s complaint that he was unfairly treated – and has spent more than £700,000 paying his salary for four years and on locums to cover his absence, the Mirror reported.

A High Court judge has ruled in Agrawal’s favour, when the General Medical Council sought to stop him practising pending a full disciplinary hearing.

However, Agrawal was finally sacked in May as hospital authorities cited “a breakdown in working relationships between you and your colleagues”.

Backed by Labour MP Lucy Powell and Tory Sir Peter Bottomley, Agrawal has now appealed, claiming he has been fired for speaking out, the paper reported. Peter, who has supported a number of NHS whistleblowers, told the Commons recently the East Lancashire NHS Trust that runs the Royal Blackburn Hospital had suspended Agrawal “in retaliation for raising concerns”.

“I raised concerns about patient safety and working practices. It turned into a nightmare. I want to restore my good name,” Agrawal said.

The trust declined to comment on the issue as legal proceedings were underway, the report said.

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