Tómas Zoega Chief Psychiatrist at the National University Hospital (Landspítali-háskólasjúkrahús, LSH) has resigned in the wake of a Supreme Court Ruling earlier this month that found that his demotion last year by the hospital’s management to the role of a specialist had been illegal.
The Supreme Court verdict follows another, similar verdict by the District Court of Reykjavík late last year. The case has been widely covered in the media and been reported in Morgunbladid, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV), Fréttabladid and on news station NFS.
The verdict, issued on June 8, found that the decision of the Chief Executive Officer of LSH, Magnús Pétursson, and the Chief Medical Officer of LSH, Jóhannes Gunnarsson, to remove Tómas from his position and assign him to the role of a specialist had been “illegal” and “unauthorized” under Icelandic law. The two officers of the hospital had demanded that Tómas give up his private practice but admitted in court that they could “find no fault” with his performance of his duties at the hospital.
Tómas resigned after the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer refused to reinstate him as Chief Psychiatrist in spite of the Supreme Court ruling.
According to Morgunbladid, the hospital’s management said in a press release that the hospital had “gone as far as it could to reach a beneficial and mutually satisfactory solution”. Morgunbladid quotes Tomas saying that he plans to sue for damages on account of wrongful dismissal. “The bottom line is that we are stuck with management that refuses to abide by the law and the ruling of the Supreme Court,” he said. “The Minister [of Health and Insurance] can not wash her hands of this, she is the one who is politically responsible for the managers,” said Tómas. “My case could possibly be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is happening at the hospital,” said Tómas.
The Minister of Health and Insurance is Siv Fridleifsdóttir of the Progressive Party.
Disclosure: Tómas Zoëga is the brother of Sigurdur Jóhannesson, chairman of Heimur hf. which publishes Iceland Review, and also of Benedikt Jóhannesson, the CEO of Heimur hf.