A new report says a catalogue of missed opportunities led to a consultant who’s at the heart of clinical negligence claims continuing to work at the Royal Cornwall Hospital for 10 years.
Obstetrics and Gynaecology consultant Rob Jones was cleared by one investigation just five months before he was finally forced to give up his post. It was just one of eight investigations over ten years into his work and there two more into the work of his department as a whole.
58 women are still waiting to hear whether they have suffered ongoing healthproblems because of his surgery. 52 women have already been told they have, and others are at risk of harm because he didn’t manage their case appropriately or keep good enough records – in total 121 women.
These disturbing figures have been revealed in five reports that were published today by the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust.
They also showed that other consultants in Mr Jones' department and other staff members had consistently raised concerns about his practice over the past ten years. But those concerns were not dealt with seriously enough according to the author of the report and those dealing with them did not have the relevant experience, training, and were not properly briefed on previous events.
The 121 women highlighted by the Trust who have suffered harm as a result of Mr Jones practice could just be the tip of the iceberg though – they are only women who were seen by Mr Jones within the last two years of his practice.
Julie Acred, who is the author of the independent report, said that the Hospital’s Trust had taken action when concerns were raised over the past ten years. However that action had not been robust enough and hadn’t been informed by previous investigations.
In ten years there were eight formal investigations into Mr Jones, but a number of consultants made complaints about him or raised concerns on additional occasions.
Mr Jones was made the lead consultant for Colsposcopy in 2007 – just months after concerns were raised about his work in that area.
She also highlighted how the Hospitals Trust missed an opportunity to act when a major review of Mr Jones work was carried out in 2007. No further action was taken against him.
She also said Mr Jones had told investigators he understood the criticism and the need for him to change.
Medical directors who’d spoken to him as part of reviews over the years, said he’d agreed his work was not as it should be and resolved to carry out training. There was no record that this had happened.
The Patients Association investigated the current practice at the hospital and found that it was safe – but it did say that a lack of staff and a high case load could expose women and babies to risk.