UK & World News

  • 21 February 2014, 21:36

Surgeon Faces Police Probe Over Deaths

A police investigation has been opened into the deaths of a number of patients under the care of consultant surgeon Sudip Sarker.

Officers said they could not be specific about the number of patients who could be involved, but they confirmed three patients whose deaths were the subject of a joint inquest in December 2013 were part of the inquiry. 

Mr Sarker, a colorectal surgeon, joined Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in August 2011 and was excluded in October 2012.

Earlier that year, restrictions were understood to have been placed on him after the Royal College of Surgeons was asked by the Trust to review his clinical practice.

North Worcestershire Superintendent Kevin Purcell said the investigation began after police received a letter the same month as the inquests.

"We were made aware that there were a number of concerns in relation to the deaths of patients in 2012 who had been under Mr Sarker's care," Supt Purcell said.

"We are in the early stages of obtaining the relevant information from hospitals and other health organisations in order to conduct our investigation.

He added that the families of the patients who were the subject of the inquest had been informed and updated on the situation.

"This is a complex matter which will undoubtedly take a considerable amount of time to investigate thoroughly.

"We are very mindful of the importance of patient confidentiality and the impact on the wider community.

"We will continue to liaise with the key partner agencies involved and people can rest assured that we will be conducting our inquiries in a sensitive and appropriate manner as befitting an investigation of this nature."

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said in a statement it is "co-operating fully" with the investigation.

"The Trust would like to reassure patients and their relatives that as soon as it became aware there was a potential problem the Trust acted swiftly and responsibly to protect its patients."

The medical records of all of Mr Sarker's patients who had a major operation have been reviewed, and where there were concerns they were recalled for further assessment, the statement added.

"A separate review of all patients who had any contact with Mr Sarker (outpatient appointments or minor procedures) is being performed by a team of specialist external surgeons.

"Patients in this group who require further assessment/investigation are also being invited back to the hospital."

Anyone who is concerned about their treatment can call the Trust's enquiry line on 01527 503812 or email surgeryreview@worcsacute.nhs.uk.

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