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Patients to sue former Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust consultant over 'botched surgery'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 04, 2013

Claire Hill from Tywardreath, Cornwall

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A woman suing her former consultant over an alleged botched operation was erroneously sent a letter saying her care and treatment was in fact up to scratch.

Claire Hill is one of the 52 patients a wide-ranging investigation found had suffered complications from the practice of former Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) consultant Kenneth, known as Rob, Jones.

A series of reports on the obstetrician published on Thursday revealed that the trust had failed to take action until late 2012 despite eight independent reviews of his practice and numerous complaints during his time working there.

Mrs Hill, from St Austell, is taking legal action over claims she had to undergo a hysterectomy after a laser procedure to remove the lining of her womb because of heavy bleeding was incorrectly performed.

The mother-of-three said she was surprised to receive a letter from the RCHT saying a review concluded her care was up to standard while at the same time being given a personal assurance from RCHT chief executive Lezli Boswell that she was one of the women who suffered complications.

"It was very upsetting," said the 35-year-old. "I wondered what on earth the hospital could get wrong next.

"In a way it was exasperating and my first reaction was to just laugh out loud because it was so laughable."

Mrs Boswell accepted the letter should not have ben sent.

"We have received a couple of complaints about a letter we sent to patients.

"In my view it wasn't appropriate and I have apologised to Claire Hill personally."

Mr Jones stopped working at the trust in May 2012 and voluntarily removed himself from the General Medical Register.

In November that year, RCHT wrote to over 1,500 of his patients saying a review of his care was under way and urging them to contact a helpline number.

The independent review published on Thursday revealed Mr Jones had been the subject of clinical concerns stretching back to 1997, including 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".

Mrs Hill said the report made difficult reading.

"It was quite upsetting to read how many concerns had been raised by so many people for a long period of time but without anyone doing anything. I do feel quite let down."

Mrs Hill said that a lot of pain and heartache could have been saved if those initial fears had been addressed.

"I do think that if the concerns had been picked up on earlier we would not be in the position we're in now."

Mrs Hill is one of 60 women who lawyers are now acting for. They are preparing a multi-million pound action against the hospital trust.

RCHT chairman Martin Watts, 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."

He said the investigation had found concerns identified about some of Mr Jones' practice "should have been addressed with more vigour and urgency."

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