A surgeon has admitted assaulting two patients after marking his initials on their livers during transplant operations.

Simon Bramhall, 53, admitted two counts of assault by beating in relation to the incidents that took place in February and August 2013.

The liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mr Bramhall worked at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital at the time of the operations and both patients had been under anaesthetic.

Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Credit: PA

Addressing the court after the pleas, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said: "This has been a highly unusual and complex case."

"It is factually, so far as we have been able to establish, without legal precedent in criminal law."

The prosecutor also described the offences as an abuse of position.

"The pleas of guilty now entered represent an acceptance that that which he did was not just ethically wrong but criminally wrong.

"They reflect the fact that Dr Bramhall's initialling on a patient's liver was not an isolated incident but rather a repeated act on two occasions, requiring some skill and concentration. It was done in the presence of colleagues."

The offence of assault by beating was brought against Mr Bramhall to reflect the act of marking the liver.

He was granted unconditional bail and will be sentenced on January 12.