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How to deal with defamation?

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by JOSKIN, Mar 31, 2012.


    JOSKIN Member

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    Just wanted to run a recent experience by my right honourable and learned colleagues! :rolleyes:

    A few months ago I moved into a new town and I was offered a room to rent at a local clinic for the purpose of setting up a private Podiatry service. An established Podiatrist in the area learned of this and wrote to the owner of the clinic telling her that I had an 'old HPC number' which appeared suspect, and stated that I was not qualified for nail surgery or local anaesthetic, and I was also not qualified to work for the NHS. I have in fact been working for the NHS for over 25 years, including performing regular nail surgery clinics using local analgesia!!

    My aforementioned 'colleague' continued to make unfounded comments about me and my abilities as a Podiatrist.

    Fortunately for me I had some excellent references from peers, GPs and patients, hence the clinic owner ignored the defamatory comments and offered me the room.

    I have taken the matter no further as I believe in karma and, although the whole situation has been distressing, I actually feel rather sorry for the individual concerned as it appears to me that one's main motivation in vilifying others is some perverse form of compensation for one's own inadequacies.

    However, I would love to get feedback on this from other members.


  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Take solace in that...... or hit back

    1) Refer it to the HPC. Given the many cases that they have ruled on, this is definitely a 'fitness to practice' issue case against them. Name and shame them.

    2) Go see a lawyer. Get them to write to them and point out the defamation and ask them what they are offering to prevent you taking this further. You do not have to take it further, just get a letter written. A lawyer's letter will cost a few $, but the satisfaction of putting the absolute sh.ts up them is well worth it (I know, been there ... done that!). It does not matter if it is really defamation or not, they will get an absolute shock at getting the letter and it will stop.
  3. Third option, assuming you're both in the scp, run it through them. There are rules on that sort of thing...

    Or turn up on his doorstep and have a chat.
  4. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    With or without the baseball bat?
  5. I find a bottle of wine is ideal. It's a nice gesture of reconciliation, but if the conversation goes badly you can fall back on it as a weapon.

    It's good to be flexible.
  6. blinda

    blinda MVP

    From personal experience I wouldn`t bother with the SCP, their rules are subjective guidelines, at best.

    However, I would certainly do the latter. In fact, I have done so with a local pod who felt they should educate our community on the fact that my HPC reg number fell within the `Grandparented = therefore not properly trained` sequential batch of numbers....

    Good mates now:drinks
  7. podangel

    podangel Guest

    Sadly within our profession, defamation is a problem we have to live with!!

    I had experience of this after leaving a job to take over an established private practice. The week after I left I was contacted by a former patient of mine who had been treated by someone else and throughout the treatment told how terrible I was at my job, everything I had done wrong etc...
    I felt very upset by this but didn't want to do the HPC / SCP line as I am all too aware that that can be horrid for the person invoved. Having made that decision I did however contact the Podiatrists immediate superior, as I felt this should at least be mentioned as a potenetial issue, only to be told that my information was 'hearsay' (otherwise known as lies or b******t!).

    Since then I have heard other similar stories about this podiatrist and another former colleague. Luckily for me the patients have all stayed with me and have offered me support should I choose to take the matter further in the future.

    However, I think we have to live with the knowledge that there will always be folk out there who feel the need to put others down.

    If your knowledge and skills are sufficient to provide your patients with an excellent quality of care then you will come out on top (as will your patients).

    Rise above, ensure you are providing a good quality service and treat your peers, colleagues and patients as you would expect to be treated!
  8. Catfoot

    Catfoot Well-Known Member

    Hello Joskin,
    The scenario you have described must be quite irksome for you, but as I see it you have 2 choices :-

    1. If you can obtain a copy of the letter sent to the owner of the clinic you then certainly have grounds for a defamation action. You can take advice from your professional organisation and also notify the HPC. If you take action it will certainly shut this person up.

    2. Ignore the sad b@$£@rd and take it as a backhanded compliment - obviously they feel threatened commercially by your presence and feel the need to try to put you down.
    Karma rules OK, as you say. :D

    Either way you'll come out on top so don't loose any sleep over it, it can happen to the best of us. ;)


  9. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    If the individual is a member of the Institute then write to them. They will certainly take action. However, as in all these cases you must be very sure of your ground and have written evidence. Anecdotal second or third hand reports usually end up as 'one person's word against another'.

    All the best

    Bill Liggins
  10. JOSKIN

    JOSKIN Member

    Well folks, thanks for all the responses.

    I decided to bite the bullet and phone this fine specimen to discuss his accusations (in a very pleasant manner, I can assure you!). Surprise surprise he denied everything. When I referred this conversation to the owner of the clinic she forwarded me the email he had sent to her, and indeed he had made numerous false allegations and defamatory comments, and then some(!), in writing, about me!

    I went to see another, very well established, Pod in the town, and she informed me that she'd had a problem with the same splendid chap accusing her of employing an unqualified Pod in her Practice, which was completely untrue.

    I have decided not to take this any further at present but I now know that I have the ammunition to hit hard and if I hear of any further defamatory comments regarding either myself or any of my fellow Pods then the axe will definitely have to fall...


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