John Sheath has over 35 years’ experience in the healthcare sector, having spearheaded the inception of the firm’s Healthcare team in 1982 and developed it to become a regional market leader. He has dedicated his career to supporting and enhancing NHS service through his legal expertise and has an unwavering commitment to immersing himself in and understanding the operation, opportunities and challenges of the healthcare sector.
John’s extensive experience includes the support of NHS clients through major incidents including Kent & Canterbury Hospital (cervical smears), East Kent Health Authority (Dr Ayling), East Kent NHS Hospitals (Rodney Ledward), West Kent HA (Michael Stone), Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (C Difficile) and Sussex NHS Partnership (alleged corporate manslaughter).
His extensive experience covers Court of Protection emergency declarations, GMC and GDC proceedings and Performance List Panels; Judicial Review and advice on major reorganisations and consultation procedures. He has developed a substantial inquest practice for NHS Trusts and a leading defence organisation.
He supports NHS training on specialist topics such as consent, confidentiality and capacity, DoLs information governance, professional accountability, the legal implications of record keeping and provides first-hand practical training for staff in the form of mock inquest and tribunal hearings.
More broadly, John recognises the value of upskilling through legal education and training. His MBA and supporting thesis in knowledge management in healthcare obtained a distinction and he has successfully turned theory into practice by sharing his extensive know-how with healthcare professionals, enhancing their medico-legal knowledge and equipping them to improve patient services and reduce risk of harm.
John is also a champion of business innovation. He has a progressive approach to collaboration between legal and healthcare teams and has developed innovative partnering arrangements whereby he is integrated into NHS organisations by apportioning administrative and legal tasks, helping staff to recognise legal issues and improving IT use to ensure the protection of sensitive data.
John has been widely recognised and awarded throughout his career illustrated by his Legal 500 hall of fame ranking for 2021.
John specialises in:
- Healthcare & Medical Defence
- Inquests & coroners courts
- Complaints and independent reviews
- Health & Safety
- Governance and risk management
Areas of Expertise:
Qualifications, Memberships and Awards:
- Re (HSE) -v- Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust 2014.
- Re K, Court of Protection 2014,; Surgical review and suspension of laparoscopic keyhole surgery MTW
- 2016 Re JP High Court QBD possession order ( bed blocking )
- Re A Family High Court 2016 refusal of blood transfusion (17 year old patient with capacity )
Clear judgement and good tactical skills.
The Legal 500
An excellent solicitor.