HOSPITAL bosses have issued an unreserved apology to woman who suffered complications in their treatment at the hands of a consultant who was removed from his post as a obstetrician and gynaecologist.
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) issued the apology as it published five independent reports into the conduct of former consultant Rob Jones as well as the way the trust handled complaints against Mr Jones.
Mr Jones was removed from practice in May last year and eventually retired and voluntarily removed his name from the medical register after a number of concerns were raised about his work.
An investigation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in May 2012 revealed a number of concerns which led to Mr Jones being removed from duty.
However it was later found that Mr Jones had previously been investigated following complaints and concerns about his work.
As a result of the concerns RCHT commissioned an independent case note review of women treated by Mr Jones between April 2010 and October 2012.
That review 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 permit the necessary assurances to be given.
As a result 58 women have been recalled for clinical assessment and the result of their reviews will be published at the end of March. The trust said that none of the cases related to suspected cancer.
The RCHT organisational learning review concluded that at various times the trust's response to the concerns expressed was "less than adequate".
Report author Julie Acred found that the investigation in 2007/08 did identify "serious concerns about practice" but the subsequent action taken did not adequately address the issues identified.
She found that advice that had been given was not followed and that the medical director at the time was "persuaded" that appropriate action had been taken to address deficiencies.
Martin Watts, chairman of RCHT, said: "On behalf of the Trust I wish to unreservedly apologise to those women and their families for the pain, distress and anxiety caused by the practice of former obstetric and gynaecology consultant Mr Rob Jones.
"The independent organisational learning review commissioned by the current trust board confirms that concerns identified about some of Mr Jones' practice should have been addressed with more vigour and urgency.
"We must fully acknowledge the mistakes made – apologise and learn from them – whilst also recognising the significant progress continuing to be made by our dedicated staff to secure better and safer care for the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."
RCHT chief executive Lezli Boswell said: "I want to thank patients and staff who did speak out and raise concerns about the practice of Mr Jones. Their courage, persistence and candour has led to where we stand today.
"The women who have spoken out have enabled other women to seek and receive the treatment and support they deserve from RCHT. I believe this is a significant moment for us and marks a challenge to change the culture of RCHT.
"We will implement all of the recommendations from the independent report and work tirelessly to rebuild trust and improve the services we provide."
An information line is still available for any women who have been affected – 0800 180 4514.
* For the full details of the investigation and review see next week's West Briton, Cornish Guardian and The Cornishman.