Apology over cancer mistreatment


Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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More than 1,000 cancer patients have been contacted by a hospital trust over concerns they may have been mistreated.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said letters had been sent to 1,200 prostate and bladder cancer patients after a review found 27 people were harmed following treatment by a consultant urologist between 2006 and 2013.

Paul Miller was suspended in December last year and no longer works at the trust. The General Medical Council (GMC) confirmed he is currently unable to treat urological cancer patients pending an investigation.

In a statement, the trust – who have not publicly named Mr Miller – said a panel of experts found 27 patients “came to harm because of the treatment they received under the former trust urologist’s care” , including five who have since died.

A further “small number of patients” were also given treatment below hospital standards – but the panel found they were not harmed as a consequence, it added.

There were no concerns about the care received by the remaining patients, the NHS trust said.

Des Holden, the trust’s medical director, said: “On behalf of the trust, I apologise unreservedly for the errors in these patients’ treatment. I acknowledge and appreciate that the outcome of the clinical review and the content of the letters will be deeply distressing to our patients and their families and I am very sorry.”

Mr Holden told BBC Surrey Radio that the NHS trust was alerted after concerns were raised by a doctor and a group of nurses and it had been an “upsetting experience” for both patients and staff.

He said: “There have been five deaths in the 27 patients. It wouldn’t be correct to say they died as a consequence of the progression of their disease. This is a cancer that predominantly affects very elderly people.

“It’s a factor, but it wouldn’t be correct to say they died as a consequence of the mismanagement.”

The Royal College of Surgeons was invited into the NHS trust to conduct the clinical review.

Mr Miller also worked at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital in Horley, Surrey.

Its director, John Crisp, said: ” Spire suspended Mr Miller in December 2013 as soon as the trust notified us of their investigation into Mr Miller and he has not undertaken any surgery or held clinics at our hospital since.

“We are sorry for any distress this may be causing our patients.”

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has set up a hotline for patients and their families to talk with a consultant or specialist nurse about their concerns of aspects of their care.

The lines are open Monday to Friday, between 11am-7pm, and the number is 0808 168 7754.

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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