A doctor who worked at the same private healthcare firm as the rogue breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson has been accused of a string of botched operations.
Michael Walsh, a shoulder surgeon, was employed at a hospital run by Spire Healthcare, and has been accused of leaving scores of patients traumatised and in pain after performing unnecessary operations on them.
Disgraced doctor Paterson, who was jailed for 20 years in 2017 after mutilating hundreds of women on the operating table, also worked for Spire.
The firm, which runs 39 private hospitals in the UK and employs 7,000 doctors and surgeons, reported Mr Walsh to the General Medical Council (GMC) after multiple patients and some colleagues raised concerns about his work.
Disgraced doctor Paterson, who was jailed for 20 years in 2017 after mutilating hundreds of women on the operating table, also worked for Spire
An investigation undertaken by Spire uncovered examples of Walsh harming patients by performing surgery on them unnecessarily or badly, the Guardian reported.
The company said it had reviewed the notes of almost 200 patients treated by Mr Walsh that it had concerns about, and invited almost 50 people back for a follow up appointment.
Mr Walsh is facing dozens of lawsuits from patients who claim that he performed surgery on them between 2012 and 2018 without any medical justification. The cases involved both private and NHS patients.
Many of the procedures were performed at the Spire hospital in Leeds, but others were done at another independent hospital in the city run by private healthcare group Nuffield Health, according to the Guardian.
Mr Walsh has since retired and is no longer licensed to practise as a doctor.
A number of Spire surgeons have been in embroiled in allegations about unnecessary or inadequate operations in recent years.
Michael Walsh, a shoulder surgeon, was employed at a hospital run by Spire Healthcare, and has been accused of leaving scores of patients traumatised and in pain after performing unnecessary operations on them
Linda Millband, national practice lead for medical negligence at Thompsons solicitors, told the Guardian: ‘Yet again it is Spire and yet again there is an unsupervised surgeon providing treatment that a patient didn’t need.
‘First Paterson, then [Habib] Rahman [another shoulder surgeon accused of performing unnecessary operations at a Spire hospital], and now Walsh. It’s an issue that clearly extends beyond Spire’s operation in the Midlands that they need to get a grip on.’
Paterson practised at both private and NHS hospitals in the West Midlands and exaggerated or invented cancer risks among his patients, claiming payments for performing more expensive procedures in some cases.
In the aftermath of Paterson’s convictions, details emerged about his lavish property portfolio and love of expensive paintings and fine wine.
Dr Habib Rahman allegedly carried out ‘unnecessary or inappropriate shoulder surgeries’ on 217 private patients at the same hospital where breast cancer butcher Ian Paterson maimed dozens of women
A two-year investigation concluded that a culture of ‘denial’ enabled Paterson to perform more than 1,000 botched or unnecessary operations over a 14-year period.
In the wake of the Paterson scandal, there have been calls for an inquiry into the private health sector, and the financial incentive private surgeons may have to recommend and perform operations.
A spokesperson for Spire Healthcare said: ‘As part of our commitment to robust clinical oversight and governance, we continuously review the practice of our 7,000 consultants’ across 39 hospitals and contact individual patients about their care if there is a concern.
‘After concerns were raised about Mr Walsh, an investigation was started in April 2018, and he was suspended immediately.
‘We asked the Royal College of Surgeons to assist with this investigation and have shared the findings with the CQC and the GMC.
‘Where we have identified concerns about the care a patient received, we have invited the patient to an appointment with an independent surgeon to review their treatment. This is a complex case and the review is ongoing…
‘Spire reiterates its sincere apologies to those patients who have been affected by the treatment they received from Mr Walsh.’