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Trust promises culture change after failure to act on nurse's concerns

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Failure to respond properly to concerns raised by a nurse at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust allowed a potentially unsafe doctor to continue to operate for more than 10 years, a report has found.

A nurse in the trust’s obstetrics and gynaecology department raised a complaint about consultant Robert Jones back in 2001 in relation to 15 patients who had experienced complications following treatment.

The nurse’s concerns followed three occasions on which another consultant in the department had raised concerns about Mr Jones’ practice, dating back to 1997.

However, it was not until October 2011 that his practice was limited. Mr Jones, who delivered David Cameron’s daughter Florence in 2010, removed himself from the medical register in October 2012.

An independent review commissioned by the trust found its response to concerns about Mr Jones had been “less than adequate”. Although they led to eight reviews of his practice these were not followed up with action to ensure improvements, the review found.

It noted that Mr Jones was “charming and disarming” when challenged about his practice, which played a large part in the lack of action.

Trust chief executive Lezli Boswell said it would implement all of the report’s recommendations.

“I want to thank patients and staff who did speak out and raise concerns about the practice of Mr Jones. Their courage, persistence and candour has led to where we stand today… I believe this is a significant moment for us and marks a challenge to change the culture of RCHT,” she said.

We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care, and create a more open NHS. Support our campaign by signing our petition.

Visit our Speak out Safely page to find out more.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Health care quality and safety suffer tremendously when administrators lack the courage and ethics to make such difficult decisions. The temptation to avoid conflict and bad PR all too often trump both, choices that make such administrators equally repsonible to poor providers for patient injury and death.

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  • the hierarchical old system that runs the nhs makes it difficult to challenge the "gods" that are the surgeons. we have one at our hospital but if his peers don't speak out then who will listen to a "mere" nurse.

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