More than 200 patients could have been harmed by rogue NHS Tayside surgeon Sam Eljamel, campaigner claims
Prof Eljamel worked at NHS Tayside between 1995 and 2013, when he was suspended by the board following three months of “indirect supervision” as a result of complaints – with the supervision deemed “inadequate” in a report released this week.
He also faced a legal claim in February 2013, but operated on 111 patients in the following six months.
Jules Rose, who was one of his patients, has been vocally campaigning for a public inquiry.
She said she had not been comforted by the contents of the new NHS Tayside report.
“It’s actually the opposite,” she told the BBC. “I currently have 133 patient names who have approached me who have been severely harmed.
“NHS Tayside have explained in their report that they have another 111 patients that have been potentially at risk under surgery with Eljamel from June to December 2013.
“Of these 111 new patients, I only know five of these patients. So potentially, now, we’re looking at 239 patients that have been severely harmed under NHS Tayside and Prof Eljamel. Literally, this number has increased overnight.”
Ms Rose said independent reviews into patient experiences with Prof Eljamel “will not wash” with those impacted.
“All the patients know what’s happened to them, we don’t need to have what they’re claiming to be independent reports into their care, we need to get back to a public inquiry, so that people can be put under oath to explain what exactly went on in NHS Tayside,” she said.
“We’re talking about from 1995, Eljamel was harming patients.”
In a statement released after the report was published on Thursday, health secretary Michael Matheson hinted at further action, but it is not clear if this could be the calling of a public inquiry or a reference to the independent commission being launched by ministers to support impacted patients.
He said: “This is a thorough report and lays bare some of the failings in NHS Tayside’s response to concerns over Prof Eljamel.
“It is clear from this review that these were not acted upon with the urgency they deserved.
“What is important now is that those people directly affected are supported to find the answers they need, and that both staff and patients across Scotland know lessons are being learned.
“For that to happen properly, I have been clear that this needs investigation independent of both NHS Tayside and the Scottish Government. We will provide more details on this shortly.”
Ms Rose said the Scottish Government “keep trying to deflect” from a public inquiry.
A statement from NHS Tayside’s executive medical director Dr Pamela Johnston after the report said: “I have written to the patients who had their operation between June 21, 2013 and December 10, 2013 to inform them about the findings of the review and to sincerely apologise on behalf of the board.
“We are offering support to them in a number of ways and there is a dedicated team to help them with any questions and concerns they may have going forward.”
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