Police investigate patient deaths in Worcestershire

Sudip Sarker Image copyright Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust
Image caption Sudip Sarker worked for the trust from August 2011 but was suspended in 2012

A police investigation has been launched into the deaths of a number of patients who were under the care of a consultant surgeon.

Sudip Sarker worked as a consultant colorectal surgeon at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

West Mercia Police said it began the investigation after receiving a letter in December.

It said the deaths of three patients, whose joint inquest was adjourned last year, formed part of the inquiry.

Mr Sarker worked at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch from August 2011 but was suspended in October 2012.

'Complex matter'

Supt Kevin Purcell, of West Mercia Police, said: "We were made aware that there were a number of concerns in relation to the deaths of patients in 2012 who had been under Mr Sarker's care.

"We are in the early stages of obtaining the relevant information from hospitals and other health organisations in order to conduct our investigation."

The trust said at the time of Mr Sarker's suspension that "a number of concerns" had been raised about him.

Mr Purcell said the families of the three patients who had died were being kept updated.

"This is a complex matter which will undoubtedly take a considerable amount of time to investigate thoroughly," he added.

'Swiftly and responsibly'

The General Medical Council said it had obtained an interim order restricting where Mr Sarker could practise, but did not stop him working altogether.

A spokesman said they could not confirm where, or if, he is currently employed.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said it "would like to reassure patients and their relatives that as soon as it became aware there was a potential problem the trust acted swiftly and responsibly".

It said a review of patients that had come into contact with Mr Sarker was taking place.

It also said an inquiry line and dedicated email address had been set up for people to discuss any concerns.

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