A COMPENSATION bill for botched operations carried out by a surgeon at a Yorkshire hospital has topped £2.5m and is set to go higher still.
Rotherham Hospital has settled a further nine claims against orthopaedic surgeon Manjit Bhamra for a total of £329,000 to add to the £2,252,000 previously paid out by last August.
In all, 30 claims have so far been settled, with the hospital admitting liability in 20. But a further 11 claims have also been admitted without compensation yet being agreed.
There are 42 more claims outstanding on which no agreement has been reached.
Despite the scale of compensation and the number of claims involved, Mr Bhamra was cleared of any wrongdoing by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2011 and has retained a full medical licence since.
The GMC has declined to comment on how it reached its decision and it similarly declined to comment on the level and number of payouts being made.
The regulator also refused to say whether its inquiries into Mr Bhamra’s work had included all the cases coming to light through the compensation process.
The latest batch of payments range from £5,000 to £125,000. The largest compensation paid to a former patient so far is £830,000.
A spokeswoman for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said: “As part of the agreed protocol to investigate concerns raised by patients treated by Mr Bhamra, the trust has worked, and will continue to work, with patients, the NHS LA (Litigation Authority) and legal representatives.
“In circumstances where liability has been accepted by the trust, an apology has been relayed by the trust directly to the patient.
“The protocol scheme was closed on September 30, 2012 and all cases notified prior to that date are being dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Compensation is paid by the NHS Litigation Authority
(NHSLA) which co-ordinates negligence claims on behalf of health trusts who each pay into a national scheme.
But under the NHSLA’s funding formula, Rotherham’s contribution has increased to reflect the amount paid to settle claims against Mr Bhamra. The effect is likely to become clear when the NHSLA releases statistics on trust contributions later this year.
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.
It has previously been revealed that patients suffered lasting damage following operations carried out by Mr Bhamra.
In one case, Wayne Pickering, from Cantley, Doncaster, had a hip operation in February 2006 which resulted in a fracture to his pelvis and damage to the sciatic nerve which left him with an unstable hip and seriously impaired mobility.