Stoke breast cancer patients 'may have been harmed'
Some 26 women who underwent breast cancer operations "may have been harmed" after serious concerns were raised about a surgeon's work, a hospital says.
Reviews of their surgery are now being carried out after complaints were made about the surgeon based at Royal Stoke University Hospital.
The unnamed medic has been barred from seeing patients since January.
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is also carrying out an investigation.
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust said the operations under review concerned breast reconstruction or risk reduction surgery.
Patients affected have been written to this week to inform them, the trust said in a statement.
The hospital's Breast Care Team first raised concerns over the consultant's practices in December 2015.
Trust chief executive Robert Courteney-Harris expressed his "sincere regret and apologies to any patients who may have received a standard of care that is below that expected".
"We took immediate action as soon as serious concerns about specific aspects of this consultant's practice were brought to our attention," he added.
"We are undertaking an internal investigation to examine these concerns and establish the full facts and we have also sought the expert opinion of the Royal College of Surgeons."
A spokeswoman for the RCS said its experts would "determine whether there is cause for concern and to make early recommendations for improvement".
"Through this work we enable surgical teams to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care," she added.