Report Made Public Into Conduct Of Cornwall Surgeon

‘We Need Evidence Recommendations In The Report Have Been Implemented’, Says Lawyer


Lawyers acting on behalf of patients treated by a Cornwall surgeon who was suspended from clinical duties following a series of complaints have reacted to a report into his conduct that was made public today.

The independent case note review into the conduct of gynaecologist Rob Jones at Royal Cornwall Hospital found that 52 women had suffered complications as a result of surgery and 69 women were felt to be at risk of harm either through failure to manage their case appropriately or because the quality of record keeping did not allow the necessary assurances to be given.

As a result 57 women have been recalled for clinical assessment and the result of their reviews will be published at the end of March.

The five reports cited that ‘poor communication’ and ‘inadequate handover between successive managers’ contributed to the failures.

The surgeon's ‘powers of persuasion’ were also cited as a reason why no action was taken against him.

Hospital bosses at Royal Cornwall Hospital trust (RCHT) have now issued an unreserved apology to patients. The chairman of the Trust said the report confirms that concerns identified about some of Mr Jones' practice should have been addressed with more ‘vigour and urgency’ and that staff will fully acknowledge the mistakes made – apologise and learn from them.

Irwin Mitchell has a team of specialist lawyers in the South West acting on behalf of patients treated by the surgeon and has experience in working with the NHS Litigation Authority to set up protocols for large groups of people affected by negligent treatment in other parts of the country.

Julie Lewis, a medical law and patients rights expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We welcome the review made public today as each patient affected has a right to know how and why there were any potential failings in their care.

“Patients want answers about why it took RCHT so long to restrict Mr Jones’ work despite eight reviews being carried out by the Trust after concerns were expressed about his work.

“We remain concerned about why he was not stopped by the Trust from performing surgery sooner and how concerns about his work were allowed to go unnoticed and unregulated for so long.

“It is now vital that there is evidence that the recommendations in the report are implemented and that lessons will be learnt to protect patient safety in the future.

“We have written to local MPs to encourage a Public Inquiry, such as the one in Mid-Staffordshire, to get to the heart of complaints and we standby this approach. We believe this will ensure the same mistakes on such a large scale will be prevented from happening again.”