Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at University Hospital of North Staffordshire Suspended Due to Patient Safety Concerns

April 15, 2014
Ipek Tugcu - Solicitor in the Medical Negligence Team

Posted by: Ipek Tugcu


The University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust is investigating treatment provided by one of its consultants after concerns were raised about patient safety. The Trust also received complaints from patients who were unhappy with their treatment.

The doctor whose care is being investigated has not yet been named but he is male consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He has been suspended by the Trust since 1st February 2013 after colleagues reported their fears that he was exposing patients to unnecessary risk. The Trust asked the Royal College of Surgeons (“RCS”) to assist their investigations by providing an independent report. The RCS report states that “the patients in the review have at least not been helped, and at worst have come to harm due to the standard of care provided

The Trust has launched an internal investigation and already recalled at least 88 patients for further review who had received treatment relating to skull or for facial injuries. Many of these patients had received treatment for fractures of the lower eye socket or to the jaw joint. Former patients of the surgeon have also been contacted and offered special appointments to review their treatment.

The Trust has admitted that 33 patients were treated using an artificial bone substitute, which the RCS has said strays from recommended “standard practice”. 19 patients were identified as having undergone surgery to the eye socket which may have been unnecessary. A further 36 patients were found to have undergone open surgery to their temporomandibular (jaw) joint when other less invasive options should have been considered first.

The University Hospital of North Staffordshire’s medical director, Robert Courteney-Harris, has said: “I should like to express my sincere regret and apologies to any patients who have, or may have, been harmed. We took immediate action as soon as serious concerns about specific aspects of this consultant’s practice were brought to our attention and the consultant has not worked at the Trust for more than a year.”

This news is very concerning and likely to be distressing for patients who received treatment from oral and maxillofacial surgeons  at The University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust. There patients will understandably be worried about their treatment and will want to be reassured that the care their received was appropriate. It is clear that there has been a major failure at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust in providing the patients of this unnamed surgeon with an appropriate and safe standard of care. In these situations, it is vital that patients who think they may have been affected seek independent legal advice rather than relying on assurances provided by the Trust.

Our specialist medical negligence lawyers have years of experience in achieving strong results for patients who have suffered injuries due to medical negligence. If you or a loved one are concerned about the treatment you have received, contact me free of charge and in confidence on 0207 288 4849 or by email on ipektugcu@boltburdonkemp.co.uk for specialist legal advice.

Posted by: Ipek Tugcu

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