Dr Y agreed to undertake retraining in one area of surgical practice after an inquiry raised concerns about some of the patients he had treated.

He is half-way through a three-month retraining programme at another hospital. He has a visiting consultant's post and works under the supervision of another consultant surgeon in a programme set up under ad hoc arrangements.

The scheme involves continuous assessment. If this is satisfactory, he will return to work at the end of the programme.

He is sceptical about his own need for training - arguing that political motives were involved in the action against him - but believes all doctors should be obliged to undergo regular hands-on updating of skills. But that may prove enormously expensive in funds and time, he fears.