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Royal Cornwall Hospital launches an investigation into second obs/gynae consultant

By West Briton  |  Posted: December 06, 2012

Royal Cornwall Hospital

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A SECOND consultant in the Royal Cornwall Hospital's obstetrics and gynaecology department is under investigation and has had their practice restricted.

The announcement comes just weeks after the hospitals trust revealed it was investigating a former consultant in the same department.

No details have been given about the identity of the second consultant, who is said to have been placed on restricted duties after concerns were raised by staff.

Paul Upton, medical director at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) said it had "restricted the clinical practice of a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology.

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"This follows a recent serious incident and concerns raised by our staff. Patient safety is our top priority and we will not compromise on the quality of care we provide.

"We will make no further comment on this individual consultant and at this time he remains an employee of RCHT," he said.

The announcement comes after it was revealed more than 40 women treated by obstetrician Rob Jones had been seen in specialist clinics to have their treatment reviewed.

RCHT contacted about 1,500 women treated by Mr Jones, who has since retired and taken his name off the medical register.

His work is currently under review and a report is set to be published by the end of the year.

Solicitor Mike Bird from Foot Anstey, who is representing patients treated by Mr Jones, said: "It would be helpful if the trust would say if this clinician's practice is connected in any way with Rob Jones's practice, which is currently the subject of detailed investigation.

"If it's not connected, this would undoubtedly be reassuring for the women concerned, but if it is, then it may mean that the current investigations need to be wider and deeper to get to the root of the clinical and organisational issues.

"The trust must be totally open about all this."

The RCHT said this week that 42 women who had been contacted had been seen in specialist clinics.

Mr Jones had worked at the hospital for 20 years before he was suspended in May. RCHT later revealed that there had been eight previous investigations into his work.

A report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in May raised a number of concerns about his work, including the frequency of surgical complications.

A report due to go before the hospital trust's board this week reveals that 210 women contacted a special hotline set up for former patients of Mr Jones, and that 183 were called back by specialist nurses.

Seven clinics were then attended by 42 women.

Mr Bird said: "The numbers of women who have contacted the helpline seems very low, given that the trust wrote to more than 1,500 women whom it believed might have been at risk.

"Several women who have contacted me have commented that the trust's letter was very non-specific, and did not mention the concerns about Mr Jones's practice, so many of the remaining women may not have contacted the trust when they should have done.

"I hope that the trust will consider writing again, in more specific terms, to those women who have not yet contacted the trust, or trying other forms of contact, to make sure that all those women fully appreciate the importance of getting in touch with the trust.

"The welfare of all these women is the top priority."

A hotline number for concerned patients – 0800 1804514 – is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm on weekdays.

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