Up to 1,000 woman could be eligible to join a mass action over the alleged botched work of a former hospital consultant after it was agreed claims dating back 20 years could be considered.
Obstetrician Rob Jones worked at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) until May 2012 despite being the subject of eight reviews and numerous concerns.
After recent former patients were contacted and Mr Jones’ work was the subject of five independent reports, it was initially thought that up to 150 women would be taking action against the hospital.
However, a legal framework has now been signed which opens the field to any woman with a complaint about Mr Jones during his entire 20 year tenure at the hospital.
Mother-of-three Claire Hill, 35, of Par near St Austell, said her health was wrecked surgery performed by Mr Jones nearly four years ago.
“I don’t think I will ever get back to being 100 per cent. I think he has taken too much away from me.”
Mr Jones delivered the Prime Minister’ David Cameron’s baby daughter Florence in August 2010 at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) in Truro.
But by then he had been the subject of clinical concerns stretching back three years, a nurse’s complaint highlighting 15 cases and a national assessment service summary which noted “there appears to be a long history of problems with the doctor”.
Six months after Mr Jones left the trust in May 2012, recent former patients were contacted and several independent investigations were launched.
Mike Bird, partner and medical negligence expert at Truro firm Foot Anstey who is handling the claims, said a vital legal framework had now been signed with the RCHT.
It has been agreed that any woman with concerns about her treatment by Mr Jones during his employment at the trust between 1992 and 2012 could be considered,
“Some people have suffered only minor injuries and may already have had those injuries corrected; others have suffered, often in silence, with very personal physical problems,” he said.
He said it was possible that up to 1,000 women could join the action after a clinical audit estimated that around 50 patients in Mr Jones’ last two-and-a-half years of practice may have suffered some avoidable harm.
Mrs Cameron is not among the women to have taken action.
However, Mrs Hill said an allegedly botched operation performed by Mr Jones in 2010 left her requiring more surgery and eventually undergoing a hysterectomy at the age of 34.
“I do not think I will ever be as physically fit as I was,” she said.
“I wish I had left it well alone and I had never met him.”
Lorna Watt, head of legal services at RCHT, said the trust was pleased that the protocol to manage litigation had been finalised.
“Over the past year, the trust has been working to the spirit of the protocol to progress cases with those claimant firms which have allowed us to do so whilst the protocol was under development.
“In that time we are pleased to have made good progress on several cases such that settlement of the first claim has already been made.
“We now look forward to working with Foot Anstey and will continue to do all that we can to process the claims as swiftly as possible for the women and families concerned.”
Mr Jones is being represented by the Medical Defence Union. A spokeswoman said that he did not wish to comment at present.