A GP WHO was sacked while signed off work as she cared for her dying dad has received an apology and compensation.

Dr Alison Sneddon was awarded £16,000 in compensation from Tranent Medical Practice in a private agreement following an Employment Tribunal hearing.

Dr Sneddon had joined the practice, on Loch Road, in October 2017 and worked two days a week as a GP.

In April last year, her father was diagnosed with inoperable and terminal cancer.

Dr Sneddon was the only family member in a position to care for her dad and he moved to live in her home in North Berwick.

She devoted herself to caring for him and was supported in the final stages of his illness by local GPs, district nurses and Marie Curie nurses.

As a consequence of her commitment to caring for her father and the psychological impact of his imminent death, Dr Sneddon felt unable to continue to provide safe medical care for patients.

She was signed off as medically unfit for work by her own GP in mid-April and remained certified as medically unfit for work until shortly after her father died on July 1.

In early May, Dr Sneddon offered to take unpaid compassionate leave to minimise the financial impact on the practice. However, this was declined.

The practice wrote to her on June 25 inviting her to attend a meeting the following day to discuss the potential termination of her employment, and declined to postpone the meeting, despite receiving a request for such from Dr Sneddon’s British Medical Association representative.

Two days later, the practice dismissed her by letter, giving three months’ notice.

The letter gave the reasoning as “your level of absence and the inability of the practice to support your long-term absence due to the significant impact this is having”.

As Dr Sneddon had been at the centre for less than two years, she was unable to claim unfair dismissal, but did make claims to the Employment Tribunal citing discrimination and breach of contract.

After a hearing in January this year, the practice responded to Dr Sneddon’s claims and included a complaint about her work between October 2018 and April 2019 where partners felt her approach to issues within the practice had not been in line with aspects of the practice’s ethos and practice.

A joint statement said: “These claims have now been settled by private agreement between the parties, the terms of which include this agreed statement.

“In addition, the practice has issued a letter of apology to Dr Sneddon for the manner of her dismissal, and has agreed to make a payment of £16,000 compensation, all of which Dr Sneddon is donating to Marie Curie in recognition of the care given to her late father by Marie Curie nurses.

“The parties have also agreed that neither will make any further public statement about the case.”

Dr Sneddon added: “Whilst the terms of the settlement preclude me from making any public comments about the case, I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my late father and to honour the kindness, care and compassion shown to him, and to me and my family, by local GPs, nurses and Marie Curie nurses.

“I wish also to express my sincere gratitude to my friend and neighbour, Peter Wallington, for the support and guidance he has given to me throughout the process.”