A Police investigation has begun into patients under the care of a Worcestershire doctor who has been suspended for work due to concerns about patient death rates. Sudip Sarker has been suspended from work in the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust since October 2012 after a report by the Royal College of Surgeons advised that he be removed from his post urgently.
The Royal College Of Surgeons looked at a sample of patients treated by Mr Sarker, and found that his mortality rates were double those of similar surgeons carrying out similar procedures. Furthermore, 20% of patients operated on by Mr Sarker had to be readmitted to hospital with post-operative complications. However, another report by the Association of Coloproctology showed that the surgeon had a death rate which was more similar to other surgeons working in the field.
The NHS Trust set up a helpline for patients who were concerned about their treatment by Mr Sarker, and 51 calls were received over summer 2013. West Mercia Police are not making public the number of patients whose treatment will be investigated as part of their enquiry, but did state that three patients who died and were subject of an inquest in 2013 would form part of the new investigation.
Before his suspension Mr Sarker worked as a consultant colorectal surgery at both the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, and specialised in keyhole surgery for colon cancer. As well as the Police investigation, Mr Sarker is also being investigated by the General Medical Council. He is still registered as a doctor but is under interim conditions.
Superintendent Kevin Purcell of West Mercia Police said that the Police investigation was set in motion after they received a letter at the end of 2013. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said that it intended to cooperate fully with the Police investigation. As soon as concerns regarding Mr Sarker were brought to light, a Trust spokesperson said that they had acted “swiftly and responsibly” to suspend the surgeon. Every patient who was operated on my Mr Sarker will now have their medical records thoroughly reviewed.
The Trust spokesperson also confirmed that patients who there were concerns about had already been contacted for investigations, and that a separate review into all patients who had had any contact with the surgeon was to be led by a specialist team of surgeons from outside the Trust.
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