Patients treated by a Scottish medical director suspended in July received 'inappropriate' and 'sub optimal care', an independent inquiry reported this week.

The inquiry said Douglas Irving, who worked at Stracathro Hospital in Brechin, failed to consistently follow 'agreed best practice guidelines in the management of breast and colorectal disease'.

In a statement, Angus trust said the records of 221 patients treated by Mr Irving for breast disease had been reviewed internally and 36 needed 'further investigation'.

Nine patients have died, although the trust said 'it is not possible to say how many, if any, of these deaths can be attributed to Mr Irving's management'.

The records of 147 patients treated by Mr Irving for colorectal disease have also been reviewed, and a further 60 have still to be examined.

Sixteen patients have been identified as needing further review and 76 have died, although the trust says 'it is not possible to say how many, if any, of these deaths can be attributed to Mr Irving's surgical management' either.

Angus trust has lifted Mr Irving's suspension and decided to take no disciplinary action against him.

He has been ordered to undergo specialist training in colorectal surgery as a condition to his re-entry to surgical practice.

Mr Irving has told Tayside health board he will no longer carry out breast surgery.

A trust spokesperson said it had decided to take no disciplinary action against the consultant because 'Mr Irving has made quite clear his willingness and enthusiasm to take part in re-training', and offered his 'full co- operation' throughout the inquiry.

Mr Irving was one of two consultants suspended at the hospital earlier this year. An independent audit of cases treated by general surgeon Peeyush Sharma is due to be completed within a month, the trust said.

Mr Sharma was suspended after his colleagues expressed concerns about his treatment of patient Alexander Brown, who died following abdominal surgery.

With just two consultants working at Stracathro Hospital, in Brechin, emergency admissions continue to be diverted to other sites.