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  1. ITV Report

Former hospital medical director called before GMC

Dr Paul Upton Credit: ITV News

The former medical director of the Royal Cornwall Hospital is facing a misconduct hearing over claims he failed to protect patients following a series of complaints about a senior consultant.

Dr Paul Upton left the post in 2013 after an inquiry started into the care given to hundreds of women by consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician Rob Jones. Dr Upton is still working at the hospital as an anaesthetist.

Rob Jones Credit: ITV News

Paul Upton was the medical director at the RCH when concerns about the obstetrician and gynaecologist Rob Jones reached their peak.

As the hospital's top medic it was his responsibility to make sure the patients were as safe as possible in their hands. He is accused that, from January 2010 to October 2011, he failed to take steps to protect patients from the risk of harm posed by Rob Jones (referred to in the documents as "Mr A").

Complaints piled in against Rob Jones during this time, One local firm of solicitors handled more than a hundred claims for negligence, and in one case the hospital paid out £9 million in compensation after a baby was born brain-damaged through lack of oxygen during a Caesarean operation.

Princess Alexandra Maternity Wing at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Credit: ITV News

He is also answering a charge that he lied to the press about what he was doing to deal with Mr Jones and safeguard patients.

Three years ago our Cornwall correspondent Steve Hardy asked him why he'd not acted when he became medical director in 2009.

Did you know at the time the record of Mr Jones?

"No I didn't."

Why not? Surely that would have been a priority as a medical director to know there had been several complaints about this person.

"Yes. I think that one of the things that happens is you have personnel files on various doctors. There are 230 consultants and unless an issue is raised you don't go back over those files."

But these reports had been going on previously.

"Previously, yes, and as soon as there were further concerns raised about him then clearly we looked at those files".

– Dr Paul Upton, speaking to our Cornwall correspondent in 2013

The General Medical Council has set aside four weeks to deliberate on Paul Upton's "impairment by reason of misconduct", as it phrases it.

Prime Minister David Cameron's daughter Florence was delivered by Rob Jones in 2010 Credit: PA

If he had acted sooner, then it may not have been Rob Jones who delivered David and Samantha Cameron's baby during their holiday in Cornwall in 2010.

They returned a year later to thank the team as the questions about Rob Jones' competence continued to mount.