An independent review into incidents of harm being suffered by women undergoing procedures carried out by a consultant gynaecologist, employed by the University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Trust (UoHDB), has been announced following an inquiry that resulted in hundreds of potential victims being identified.
Nearly 400 women affected
In 2018, Daniel Hay was suspended by the Royal Derby Hospital after colleagues became concerned about the outcomes of the consultant’s procedures. This prompted an initial investigation into a group of 58 women identified as having had adverse outcomes after being treated by Mr Hay between 2015 and 2018, of whom eight were reported to have suffered significant harm. The results of the 2018 investigation prompted a wider clinical review leading to a further 326 women being contacted during 2020, including outpatients who had attended Mr Hay’s clinic at Ripley Hospital between 2017 and 2018.
Independent expert to review cases
As noted in widespread press coverage, the review has moved on from covering those undergoing surgery, including hysterectomies, to include other procedures such as diagnostic tests. To date, Mr Hay’s clinical notes have been the focus of the investigation, the standard of which in many cases was, as the Trust’s medical director noted, ‘poor’. To gain a more thorough insight, all the women who have been contacted are being invited to attend a virtual meeting with an independent consultant gynaecologist who will review the care they received.
The fact remains that Mr Hay joined the Trust in 2005 and many legal practitioners are querying why the investigation is only concerned with patients he treated from 2015 onwards. There is anecdotal evidence that Mr Hay’s poor treatment stretches back to the early 2000s which could, by some estimates, mean that around 1000 women may have been adversely affected. Mr Hay left the Trust in 2018 and, although he retained his licence to practise, he has since retired, citing mental health issues. It is to his credit that he has indicated his willingness to cooperate with the investigation, and he has apologised to all the women involved, but it raises the question, yet again, how a poorly performing consultant can continue in post for so long.
Hospital must examine its own culture of openness
Patient safety should be paramount in all hospitals, which are expected to deploy proper procedures to ensure all surgeons follow best practice. UoHDB NHS Trust does appear, on the face of it, to be responding openly and honestly and has expressed “sincere regret and apologies to those patients who have received a standard of care that is below that expected.” However, like other hospitals that have allowed surgeons who have subsequently been proved to be negligent to continue to practise, the Trust must ask some searching questions about its own culpability. Were there reports of poor standards of care before 2015 that were quietly brushed under the carpet? Had colleagues noted that Mr Hay’s outcomes were worse than they should have been much earlier than 2018 but had decided the negative consequences of reporting their concerns outweighed the benefits? The hospital needs to investigate in order to ensure its own culture was not an impediment to revealing the extent of Mr Hay’s negligence.
We have a track record of helping people who have been the victims of medical negligence, having brought successful claims on behalf of both NHS and private patients. We are currently acting for patients who have suffered as a result of procedures carried out by Mr Hay. If you have also been treated by him and wish to know if you can bring a claim against him, please contact me in the strictest confidence.