Kent NHS trust pays £651,000 to sacked surgeon's patients
An NHS trust has paid out £651,000 to 15 former patients of a Kent surgeon, it has been revealed.
East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust made the out of court settlements, to people treated by Dr David Jackson, from 2002 - five years before he was sacked.
Former patients are angry they received treatment up to 2007, despite the payouts from 2002 and referrals to the General Medical Council (GMC).
The trust said it had strengthened its performance monitoring procedures.
It has also set up a helpline for former patients who have concerns about their treatment.
Dr Jackson was dismissed by the trust and suspended from the medical register in 2007 but has not appeared before a disciplinary hearing because of ill health.
He has 75 complaints against him from 16 bowel cancer, breast cancer and plastic surgery patients, dating back to 1989.
The GMC has confirmed that two complaints were referred to them in 2004 and 2005.
Judy Greenhall, of Herne Bay, said she had been in constant pain since she was treated by Dr Jackson in 2006. She recently received an out of court settlement.
She added: "It's despicable quite honestly. Any slight problem that they've got with a surgeon, regardless of who it is, they should withdraw that person from the trust and look into why it was happening in the first place.
"There is obviously not anyone watching surgeons, from a higher authority, doing their work in order to make sure that no problems have occurred, no mistakes are made. They just have to be watched. If they're incompetent they are suspended."
GMC chief executive, Niall Dickson, said reforms were taking place, but added: "I think the architecture of the NHS and indeed of the whole private sector has not been fit for purpose.
"I think there is evidence that in some cases in the past employers have either been very slow to identify areas of concern or when they have identified areas of concern they have been slow to refer."
A spokeswoman for the trust said: "East Kent Hospitals University Foundation NHS Trust would like to offer a sincere apology to any patient or relative who feels they have received treatment that has fallen below our very high standards of care.
"We are the only organisation to take action against David Jackson. We suspended him in June 2007 and dismissed him in December 2007."
It added: "The trust is aware that since that time, David Jackson has been scheduled to appear before the GMC, but that hearings have been postponed because he has been too ill to appear.
"Since that time we have reviewed our procedures for monitoring performance, including strengthening our multi-disciplinary review of patient treatment plans.
"In addition this year the trust has begun implementing a rigorous re-validation programme for all its doctors as part of a national scheme. All our consultants will be revalidated by 2013."
Dr Jackson has not responded to requests from the BBC for an interview.