NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Doctors at NHS Grampian cleared of wrongdoing

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

Eight senior doctors - including the Queen's former surgeon - have been cleared of wrongdoing after a series of investigations said to have cost £5m.

The General Medical Council launched an inquiry after previous reports were handed over by NHS Grampian.

Prof Zygmunt Krukowski, the Queen's former surgeon, was among those suspended during the investigations.

He has since resigned and is considering taking legal action against NHS Grampian.

Prof Krukowski said he was "gratified" the case against him had been closed with no further action.

A report by the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSE) had described a "breakdown in functional working relationships", while a report from Health Improvement Scotland (HIS) called for an urgent restructuring of surgical ward teams.

Other former consultants described a "toxic culture" at the health board.

The GMC then investigated after NHS Grampian handed it a report from the RCSE.

The report is understood to have made serious accusations about the practices of the surgeons who have now been cleared.

NHS Grampian has repeatedly refused to publish the report and insisted it "did not refer any surgeons to the GMC".

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: "'We have closed these cases based on a careful review of all the evidence available to us.

"That evidence included an independent report by the Royal College of Surgeons of England which was shared with us by the health board.

"Patient safety is our first priority and we acted appropriately in our duty to look at those concerns further."

He added: "However, we are confident that we have closed this matter in an appropriate length of time while ensuring all concerned were treated fairly.

"We will continue to work with managers, doctors and others at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to support high quality medical education and practice."

'Right action'

NHS Grampian's chief executive, chairman and medical director all left their posts amid the row.

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said "We have a duty to work with and support the professional bodies that regulate staff across NHS Grampian.

"The GMC makes the decision whether or not to investigate any individual doctor.

"The independent Royal College of Surgeons of England report, which was accepted by the Board, was passed to the GMC, which was the right and proper course of action."

'Profound thanks'

NHS Grampian said it did not recognise a reported figure of £5m for the cost of the investigation.

Prof Krukowski said: "I was gratified to be informed by the General Medical Council that following investigation extending over almost two years, the case against me as a result of two referrals by NHS Grampian has been closed with no further action.

"The conclusions and recommendations of reports conducted by and on behalf of NHSG which led to my suspension from all clinical practice and research by exclusion from the Royal Infirmary have been rejected by my professional regulatory body.

"I wish to express my profound thanks to my family and the thousands of patients and colleagues who were prepared to express their support over this period. The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland have been outstanding in their professionalism."

A spokesman for The Royal College of Surgeons said: "The RCS was asked by NHS Grampian to undertake an invited service review of the General Surgery Service at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in September 2014.

"This was to assist them to review potential concerns that the board had about team working and individual behaviours and to assess whether these concerns were impacting on the quality of clinical care being provided.

"A report was provided to NHS Grampian for them to consider and act on as they saw appropriate.

"As the professional regulator, it is for the General Medical Council to decide whether and how to investigate individual doctors."

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