Concerns over consultant who delivered PM's daughter

David and Samantha Cameron with Florence David Cameron, who revisited the hospital with Florence and his wife in 2011, praised its care

Concerns were raised about the clinical competency of a surgeon who delivered the prime minister's youngest child, the BBC has learned.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has confirmed it is reviewing the work of former consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Rob Jones.

More than 1,500 women who were treated by him at Treliske in the past two years have been written to.

Mr Jones, who has now resigned, said he had always followed national protocols.

National guidelines

Analysis

I first heard of these concerns about Mr Jones from various sources in the summer, which is why I put in Freedom of Information requests.

They were all turned down at the time by the trust on the grounds that it was "personal data on an individual".

I challenged this with the Information Commissioner on the grounds that patients affected had a right to know, before the announcement by the trust that they would hold two reviews.

The fact that the second review will look into how the trust responded to serious complaints from whistle-blowers is unprecedented in the NHS, and could send out a strong message to other hospitals.

He also said he had been a caring doctor throughout his career.

The BBC has seen details of a 2007 inquiry which raised possible concerns that the surgeon had failed to follow national guidelines in treating women with growths.

Paul Upton, the hospital's medical director, said: "There is a possibility that cancers have been missed and that is exactly why we are conducting this review."

Lezli Boswell, chief executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, said: "We want to do a double check to make sure they have received the appropriate care and treatment."

Regarding the delivery of Florence Cameron in 2010, who was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, she said that there was "no reason to believe that the particular patient was placed in any risk at all".

Mr Cameron said after the birth of Florence that the hospital and staff were "wonderful".

Start Quote

We are very very sorry for any anxiety it causes”

End Quote Lezli Boswell Chief executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust

Asked by the BBC for a response on the issues surrounding Mr Jones, a Downing Street spokesman said: "We would not comment on it."

Concerns raised

Ms Boswell said Mr Jones had worked at the hospital for 20 years. He was no longer employed by the NHS and had also voluntarily taken his name off the medical register after he resigned in May following another review into his work.

She said there had been concerns raised about his clinical competency since 2000 and eight reviews had been carried out into his work before he left in May.

Ms Boswell said she could not comment on why the hospital did not act sooner to alert patients.

"I can't criticise any action the trust took during that time. I am more interested now in making sure we do the right thing for our women patients and that Mr Jones isn't practising in the NHS at the moment or anywhere in the UK," she said.

"We are very very sorry for any anxiety and stress and pain it causes as a consequence of this."

Ms Boswell said that the current review was unconnected with a BBC Freedom of Information request about Mr Jones which was sent to the hospital in August.

She said the "first phase" of the review would go back two years.

"We will then review the findings of that, take expert advice on whether we need to go back further."

A second review will look at how the trust handled whistle-blowing accusations about the surgeon's competency.

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