A HEALTH trust that previously insisted it has no concerns about the practice of one of its surgeons has been forced to admit it paid £25,000 in compensation after a botched operation – and faces further claims for negligence.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust initially refused to release any information about patient claims against Manjit Bhamra, an orthopaedic surgeon whose bungled operations at a another NHS trust in Rotherham have led to a catalogue of compensation payouts today revealed to total nearly £3m.
But the trust, which employed Mr Bhamra in 2009 after he left Rotherham Hospital, has now acknowledged it has made the £25,000 payment after admitting liability in relation to an operation carried out in 2010. A further 10 claims against Mid Yorkshire are yet to be concluded.
Responding to a freedom of information request, managers at Mid Yorkshire, which runs hospitals in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract, had claimed the trust did not hold any information on compensation claims against Mr Bhamra.
After a complaint to the Information Commissioner, the trust was forced to admit this was not accurate and revealed the number of claims along with payouts made.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals declined to comment why it had initially withheld the information. It has previously stated it has no concerns about Mr Bhamra’s practice. There was also no response when the trust was asked whether it would now consider reviewing Mr Bhamra’s practice in light of the payment and outstanding claims.
Instead, the trust said: “The trust closely monitors all of its services and that includes consultant outcomes. We do not comment on individual doctors’ practice in the media.”
It can also be revealed that compensation payments relating to botched operations at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust now total £2,896,000. In all, 37 claims against the trust following operations by Mr Bhamra at Rotherham Hospital have been settled with liability being admitted in 26 of them. There are still a further 38 claims outstanding. Rotherham has admitted liability in nine of them without reaching a final financial settlement.
The trust denies liability in 17, with no decision reached on liability in the remaining 12. Despite the scale of compensation and the number of claims involved, Mr Bhamra was cleared of any wrongdoing by the General Medical Council in 2011 and has retained a full medical licence. The GMC has declined to comment on its decision and 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 cases coming to light in the compensation process.
Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust also declined to say whether information about the negligence claims had been forwarded to the GMC.
Instead, it said: “The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust has previously made referrals to the GMC regarding Mr Bhamra. These were resolved in 2011. It is the trust’s aim to always provide relevant information to partner bodies, where appropriate.”
Mid Yorkshire has confirmed the operation it paid £25,000 compensation for was in 2010. In June 2009, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust had written to raise concerns about Mr Bhamra’s practice. Mid Yorkshire employed the surgeon in March 2009 and continues to employ him.