Medical Law Experts Say Patients Deserve Answers Now About Gynaecologist’s Work
Medical law experts are calling for the results of a review into the conduct of a Cornwall surgeon, whose working practices resulted in nearly 1,500 women being recalled, to be made public immediately saying ‘each patient has a right to know how and why there were any potential failings in their care’.
Law firm Irwin Mitchell has a team of specialist lawyers in the South West acting in relation to the case of Gynaecologist Kenneth (Rob) Jones’ surgery at Treliske Hospital in Truro as far back as 2000 – 12 years before he was asked to remove himself from the General Medical Council (GMC) in May last year.
Last November, an independent review was launched into Mr Jones’ work amid allegations of failure to follow surgical guidelines and the board is due to consider the findings at its board meeting being held today (31 January).
But Irwin Mitchell Partner and specialist medical lawyer Julie Lewis said these findings should be shared with all those affected straight away so they finally have answers about what has gone wrong.
She said: “These women have been through more than enough and for them now to have to wait even longer to discover why they were potentially not given the treatment they deserve is appalling. Each patient has a right to know how and why there were any potential failings in their care.”
The firm has written to local MPs to request an independent Public Inquiry as they say it is essential to find out exactly how the treatment of so many patients over so many years could be called into question and to ensure lessons are learnt to prevent anything similar from happening in the future.
A report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, made public last November, revealed a number of serious concerns about Dr Jones, who delivered Prime Minister David Cameron’s youngest daughter in 2010, including:
• His failure to carry out biopsies on women who had been referred to him due to potentially cancerous smear tests
• Why he had a higher complication rate than the national average for gynaecological surgery resulting in patients frequently having to return to theatre
• Concerns over his use of guidelines and note-taking.
The report also raised concerns about the way the RCHT managed the situation and a special helpline was launched specifically for patients who had concerns.
Ms Lewis added: “Patients need answers about why it took RCHT so long to restrict Mr Jones despite numerous reviews being carried out by the Trust after concerns were expressed about his work.
“They need to know now 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.
"We remain deeply concerned to hear that over 1,500 women could be potentially affected as a result of systemic failings and urge anyone concerned to call the specially set up help line number as soon as possible."
The helpline number 0800 180 4514 is available from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday.