PERFORMANCE: Failure to respond properly to concerns raised by staff at Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust allowed a potentially unsafe doctor to continue to operate for more than ten years, a report has found.

Concerns about consultant Robert Jones were raised on three separate occasions by a medical colleague in the trust’s obstetrics and gynaecology department from 1997 onwards. A nurse raised concerns in 2001 while by 2010 regular concerns were being highlighted through the trust’s risk reporting system.

However, it was not until October 2011 that Mr Jones, who delivered prime minister David Cameron’s daughter in 2010, had his practice limited. An independent review commissioned by the trust and published earlier this month found the response to concerns raised had been “less than adequate”.

It concluded the fact that Mr Jones was “charming and disarming” when challenged about his practice played a large part in the failure to act as well as a lack of “meaningful data” to compare performance of clinicians when concerns were first raised.

The trust commissioned five independent reports in the wake of Mr Jones’ decision to remove himself from the register last October. An independent review of NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s involvement found no evidence the primary care trust should have intervened sooner.

A case note review of more than 2,000 cases found cause for concern in about 5 per cent of cases however a rapid response review concluded the obstetric and gynaecology department was safe. A review of by the Patients Association found the majority of patients’ experiences were positive.  

Trust chief executive Lezli Boswell accepted all of the reports’ 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.