BREAST cancer operations at Sunderland Royal Hospital were stopped after a locum surgeon was axed over a “misdemeanour”, it has been revealed.
The Echo reported last week that surgery on patients had to be halted several months ago.
Despite our best efforts we were unable to recruit another locum and therefore took the decision with our commissioners to temporarily suspend new referrals to the breast service which was effective from December 11, 2014Spokeswoman for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
Chiefs blamed a lack of consultants for the decision, with new patients referred to other centres in Gateshead, Newcastle, Durham, Stockton, Bishop Auckland, Wansbeck, Hexham, and Middlesbrough for treatment.
After discussions with bosses at the city’s Clinical Commissioning Group, the Royal chose to suspend operations after they were unable to recruit a replacement.
A spokeswoman for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said she was unable to specify details on the misdemeanour that lead to the termination of the locum’s contract.
She said: “The locum surgeon ceased to be employed at the trust at the beginning of December, not because of any clinical concerns about his ability as a surgeon or for any patient safety issues, but for another misdemeanour, the details of which I am unable to disclose, as I do not have that individual’s permission to do so, but categorically there were no clinical issues.
“We terminated his contract with the agency that supplied the locum and any investigation would be undertaken by that agency.
“Despite our best efforts we were unable to recruit another locum and therefore took the decision with our commissioners to temporarily suspend new referrals to the breast service, which was effective from December 11, 2014.
“GPs in the city were notified at that time and we continue to work with commissioners and other providers to be able to provide a local service, however, that will take some months to resolve.”