IVF doctor says she was 'forced out'

April 4, 1997

A doctor has resigned from St George's Hospital Medical School claiming constructive dismissal a year to the day after a new professor was brought in to bring research excellence to its obstetrics and gynaecology department.

Reshmi Varma, the director of the school's fertility unit, left St George's earlier this week following the closure of the in-vitro fertilisation unit. She plans to take St George's to an industrial tribunal.

Her departure comes a year after the appointment of Stuart Campbell as department head.

"I was brought in to bring peace and research," said Professor Campbell, adding that the school was losing about Pounds 1 million a year from its funding council grant. "Clearly I had to do something."

He went on: "Either we moved the unit elsewhere or closed it. A medical school should run IVF only if it has a heavy research element. It is not the NHS.

"Nobody suggested Dr Varma should resign. All that was asked was that she allowed people to work in the unit on research."

But Dr Varma claims she has been forced out. She denies the unit was not fulfilling its research and teaching obligations, and says she has published many papers.

She says research was made impossible in the last year, with staff given two or three-month contracts only.

A spokesman for the medical school confirmed that it would defend any proceedings before the tribunal.

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