Rogue Scottish surgeon Professor Sam Eljamel could be extradited from Libya to face action, says Michael Matheson
A disgraced surgeon who performed botched operations on hundreds of patients could be extradited back to Scotland, the health secretary has said.
Professor Sam Eljamel is believed to be operating in Libya after he was suspended from NHS Tayside in 2013.
Michael Matheson said a recent due diligence report from NHS Tayside into the former consultant neurosurgeon raised “serious issues of concern”.
Campaigners, many of whom suffered life-changing injuries, believe more than 200 patients may have been harmed by Prof Eljamel, who worked for the Tayside health board between 1995 and 2013, when he was suspended following three months of “indirect supervision”.
That supervision was deemed “inadequate” by the NHS Tayside report released last week, and he may have operated on more than 100 patients during that complaint process.
His victims have repeatedly called on Scottish ministers to commit to a public inquiry. However, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said the preferred method of investigation would be an independent review that would provide answers quicker.
He also said a potential public inquiry would not be able to compel Prof Eljamel to attend and face questions.
Mr Matheson has now said he believed the rogue surgeon should “be brought to account” for the harm caused to patients.
He said the Scottish Government has extradition procedures in place with Libya, which could be used depending on a police investigation.
Speaking to journalists in Edinburgh on Wednesday, he said: “The last location we knew that Eljamel was in was in Libya. There’s still a police investigation ongoing in relation to this issue, which is a live investigation and of course we do have extradition procedures in place with countries like Libya.
“That will be determined by the police and Crown Office forward, but that’s a live investigation.
“My view is that he is an individual who should be brought to account for his actions.”
His comments came as victims of Prof Eljamel gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in protest against the Scottish Government’s refusal to commit to a public inquiry.
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