East Lothian GP sacked while caring for dying father donates compensation to Marie Curie

A Scottish GP who was sacked while caring for her dying father has donated the compensation money she was awarded to end of life charity Marie Curie, which supported her father in his last weeks.

Alison Sneddon with her father Bruce, who died in 2019 with a rare form of cancer.
Alison Sneddon with her father Bruce, who died in 2019 with a rare form of cancer.

Dr Alison Sneddon has donated £16,000 to the charity which helped care for her father Bruce, who had a rare form of cancer.

He was cared for by nurse Linda Thompson at his daughter’s home in North Berwick, after a diagnosis of terminal and inoperable cancer in April 2019.

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Dr Sneddon thanked Ms Thompson and Marie Curie for their support in caring for her father.

Alison Sneddon with nurse Linda Thompson, who cared for her father.

“During the final week of Dad’s life, we were immensely grateful for the additional support and care offered to us by Marie Curie nurses and in particular by Linda Thompson,” she said.

“Linda went above and beyond in the care, kindness and compassion she showed to Dad and her experience and professionalism shone through everything she did. As a family we will be forever grateful to her for all she did for Dad and for us at such a sacred time.”

Dr Sneddon added: “It was surely one of the greatest privileges of my life to journey alongside Dad each day during the eleven weeks from diagnosis until his death. The grace, gratitude and good humour with which he approached his illness and imminent death was truly inspirational.

“We were very fortunate to have an outstanding local GP and team of district nurses whose support made it possible for my husband, a retired doctor, and me to care for Dad at our home right up to the end.”

Mr Sneddon moved into his daughter's home following his diagnosis, as she was the only family member who could care for him.

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Dr Sneddon was signed off as medically unfit for work shortly after the diagnosis, as the toll of caring for her father and the knowledge of his illness left her feeling unable to fulfil her two-day-a-week role at Tranent Medical Practice.

But three days before her father died on July 1, Dr Sneddon was sacked by a letter from the practice, which told her the reason for her dismissal was “your level of absence and the inability of the practice to support your long-term absence due to the significant impact this is having”.

Following an Employment Tribunal Hearing in January 2020, Dr Sneddon was given a letter of apology and £16,000 compensation from the practice.

She has donated the entirety of this to Marie Curie.

Ciara Gallagher, Head of Partnerships and Philanthropy at Marie Curie, said: “We were incredibly touched to receive Alison’s generous donation.

"We need to raise £250,000 every month to provide our care and services in Scotland as we have two hospices – one in Edinburgh and the other in Glasgow - as well as a team of Marie Curie nurses looking after terminally ill people and their families in their homes across Scotland.

“From all of us at Marie Curie I want to thank Alison for her support.”

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