Wolfson Building. Credit: Creative Commons

Medical school acknowledges gender-based discrimination as Professor JP Leach resigns

By Kimberley Mannion

 Following the resignation of the head of undergraduate medicine, medical students who have been “subjected to unwelcome, unacceptable and distressing incidents” have received an apology. 

Medical students at the University of Glasgow have been sent a letter addressing sexism and discrimination within their school. This follows the resignation of Professor John Paul Leach as head of the undergraduate medical school (UMS) at the University of Glasgow, on 2 November, the same day on which the letter is dated. Professor JP Leach, who is a consultant neurologist at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, has held the post since 2016. 

In October, The Herald reported that an inquiry had been launched following complaints from female staff and students regarding gendered bullying and discrimination against female academics. Last week, Dr James Going, who was made Honorary Clinical Associate Professor in 2016, resigned from his position and claimed that “a culture of misogyny is flourishing” within UofG’s medical school. Dr Going penned an open letter to University Principal Anton Muscatelli in which he wrote: “I and others have been waiting for evidence that people with authority in the University have the will and the backbone to do something effective about it. We are still waiting.” 

Professor Leach told The Herald: “There is no bullying or misogynistic behaviour of which I’ve been guilty and no sanction so I leave with my record at the university clear.”

Medical students at the University were subsequently sent a letter by Professor Matthew R Walters, Head of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, which does not mention Professor Leach or his resignation. 

The letter, seen by The Glasgow Guardian, informs students that investigations into issues over “gender-based bullying and discrimination” raised in 2021 have been concluded and “identified some behaviours which fell short of professional expectations”. 

Professor Walters continued: “I speak for all senior colleagues in the School and College when I say that I am sorry that any of our staff or students have been subjected to unwelcome, unacceptable and distressing incidents”. Students and staff in the school are asked to “reflect on your own environment and behaviour”, and the letter concludes that “As a School we can and will do better.” 

The letter goes on to lay out an action plan to be out in place moving forward. Head of Vice Principal and Head of College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (MVLS), Professor Iain McInnes is to convene a College oversight group on the issue. Also promised are “enhanced training for staff, and the input of an external consultancy team to work across the UMS and our wider School with a view to the development of a progressive and inclusive culture for all.” It also notes that NHS colleagues will play a role.

Professor Leach will leave his post within the coming weeks to take up a role as senior clinical neuroscientist within a multinational pharmaceutical company.


Share this story

Follow us online

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] Professor John-Paul Leach who was first to accept the initiative, and who left the University after allegations of bullying and gender […]