COMPENSATION payouts following botched operations by a Yorkshire surgeon have now topped £2m in total, with another 94 claims yet to be dealt with.
The Yorkshire Post has learnt that Rotherham Hospital has agreed further damages settlements for four former patients of orthopaedic surgeon Manjit Bhamra totalling just over £1m.
The payments have been agreed since last summer when it was known 13 other patients had already received £1,058,784.
Rotherham Hospital declined to comment on the recent settlements or on how much it envisaged being paid out in total.
The latest payments of £1,005,000 include a single payment of £830,000 – the highest individual claim so far settled. Rotherham Hospital admitted liability in all four of the recently settled claims, while another 22 claims were withdrawn. Of the 17 payouts so far, the hospital has accepted liability in 10 and made no admission in the other seven.
Despite the huge amount of public money paid in compensation, an Information Tribunal recently ruled Rotherham Hospital was right not to disclose information relating to its concerns about Mr Bhamra’s work on the grounds that it was the surgeon’s “personal information”.
The tribunal’s ruling followed a freedom of information request by the Yorkshire Post about the information the hospital supplied to the General Medical Council (GMC) in two referrals the hospital made to the medical regulator about Mr Bhamra.
The GMC cleared the surgeon of any wrongdoing in 2011 and he retains a full medical licence. The GMC declined to comment on how it reached its decision.
The claims against Mr Bhamra largely involve hip, knee, elbow and shoulder surgery he carried out at Rotherham Hospital where he worked full-time up to 2007 and then part-time until 2009. A small number of claims involve Mr Bhamra’s work at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where he has worked at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield since 2009, and Goole Hospital where he worked on an ad-hoc basis.
Mid Yorkshire has said it has no concerns about Mr Bhamra’s practice, insisting it undertook robust checks when employing staff.
Lawyers representing former patients of Mr Bhamra have agreed a protocol with the NHS to help process the large number of claims. A further 94 claims currently remain to be processed under the protocol.
The settled claims so far range from £1,750 up to £830,000, with a total of £2,063,784 paid out.
The money is paid by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) which co-ordinates negligence claims on behalf of health trusts who each pay into the scheme. Rotherham Hospital’s contribution to the NHSLA is likely to increase because of the claims settled against Mr Bhamra.
It has previously been revealed patients suffered lasting damage following operations carried out by Mr Bhamra.
Rotherham Hospital admitted negligence claimed by Wayne Pickering, 60, from Cantley, Doncaster, who had a hip operation in February 2006.
Mr Pickering’s claim alleged the surgeon fractured his pelvis and damaged the sciatic nerve, leaving him with an unstable hip and seriously impaired mobility.
Tim Annett, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors who are representing the majority of claimants, said: “While some cases have already settled, a special protocol has been set up with the NHSLA and investigations are ongoing to find out exactly what happened during the treatment of our remaining clients and ensure that any potential lessons are learnt to improve patient safety in future.”