Breast Cancer Operations Stop After Hospital Dismisses Surgeon

Misdemeanour Led To Sunderland Royal Hospital Surgeon's Dismissal

28.04.2015

Specialist medical lawyers contacted for help in relation to issues linked to breast cancer treatment at Sunderland Royal Hospital have revealed their concerns following reports that operations related to the condition at the site have been halted after the dismissal of a locum surgeon.

The surgeon was dismissed over a "misdemeanour" as far back as December 2014. After the hospital failed to recruit another locum, the decision was made to suspend new referrals to the breast service.

New patients have instead been referred to other centres in the North East for treatment, while hospital chiefs blamed a lack of available consultants for the necessity of the decision.

A spokeswoman for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: "The locum surgeon ceased to be employed at the trust at the beginning of December, not because of any clinical concerns about his ability as a surgeon or for any patient safety issues, but for another misdemeanour.

"Despite our best efforts we were unable to recruit another locum and therefore took the decision with our commissioners to temporarily suspend new referrals to the breast service, which was effective from December 11, 2014.

"GPs in the city were notified at that time and we continue to work with commissioners and other providers to be able to provide a local service. However, that will take some months to resolve."

Expert Opinion
"It is worrying to see that breast cancer procedures at Sunderland Royal Hospital have been suspended and it is vital that the priority at present remains on ensuring that patients are able to access the care and support they require.

"The further revelations regarding the reasons behind the suspension are only likely to raise more questions among patients and their families, so it is vital that health authorities continue to keep the local community updated on any developments regarding the services."
Angela Kirtley, Partner