David Cameron birth doctor inquiry at Royal Cornwall Hospital
A former consultant who helped deliver David and Samantha Cameron's baby daughter at a Cornish hospital is at the centre of a major inquiry over the care and treatment he provided to more than 1,500 women.
An investigation was launched into Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) consultant obstetrician Kenneth Jones, known as Rob, when concerns surfaced from a senior member of staff.
As a result, 1,574 gynaecological patients treated by the consultant over the last two-and-half years have now been contacted by the hospital.
A Downing Street spokesman said Samantha Cameron, whose baby Florence Rose Endellion was born in August 2010 by a team including Mr Jones, was not one of the women who had been contacted by the trust.
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"We are aware of the situation. I can confirm she is not part of the inquiries that the trust is making," he said.
But the RCHT yesterday confirmed that it would be looking back over Mr Jones' entire decade-long tenure at the Treliske-based trust after it emerged issues had previously been raised.
Chief executive Lezli Boswell said the hospital had acted as soon as possible.
"We do recognise that this is likely to cause a lot of anxiety and stress among people, among patients in particular.
"We are sorry for that."
RCHT medical director Paul Upton said that he became aware of problems in October last year.
"I received a letter from a senior member of staff highlighting some cases where patient pathways (guidelines for treatment) had not been followed."
Dr Upton said a meeting with the consultant was arranged and he was referred to a national assessment service.
"His practice was then restricted to out-patients only," said Dr Upton.
He added that he was aware that Mr Jones had been the subject of a "number of previous reviews" since joining the trust, from a hospital in South Africa, in 1992.
Mrs Boswell said: "As a result of concerns raised by our staff about Mr Jones, we ordered an immediate internal investigation and at the same time limited his clinical practice.
"RCHT then asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to carry out an independent review into Mr Jones' clinical practice.
"That review has been done and the Trust has implemented all of its recommendations.
"In addition, the trust is reviewing the care and treatment offered to specific women seen by Mr Jones."
The review was delivered in May this year, said Mrs Boswell.
Dr Upton said that Mr Jones had not worked at the hospital since May and that he was now "retired" and not practising medicine any more.
"He has taken himself off the General Medical Council register.
"I wrote to the GMC saying there had been concerns and that a review made a number of recommendations about his employment and a possible referral to the GMC."
Mrs Boswell said she was aware of two complaints made about Mr Jones since she joined RCHT as chief executive last year. However, she said that she had also received "plaudits" for Mr Jones' work.
"Mr Jones is no longer employed by the RCHT and has not worked at the hospital since May 2012," she said.
"The GMC is aware of the situation and he is no longer on the medical register.
"As the new chief executive I am very clear, I will not tolerate poor clinical practice.
"Patients in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly deserve the very best care and we, the trust board, are committed to ensure that any lessons are learned."
Dr Upton said the records of the 1,500 patients treated by Mr Jones would be scrutinised by experts from inside and outside the hospital. He said any notes "which cannot answer all our queries" would result in the patient being asked to come in for a review.
Furthermore, he said to guarantee the completeness of the review, one set of notes in every bundle of 20 would be double-checked.
The hospital has launched a helpline for any previous patients of Mr Jones to contact if they have concerns.
The number 0800 180 4514 will be available from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday.
A year after Mr Jones helped deliver the Camerons' baby daughter, the couple visited the Alexandria maternity ward at the RCHT to thank him and the team. Mr Jones was introduced to Florence by Mr Cameron as "the man who pulled you out of mummy's tummy".
A spokesman for Number 10 yesterday added: ""Mr and Mrs Cameron remain grateful to the staff at the Royal Cornwall for the safe delivery of Florence."
Mr Jones was reported to have said that he had always followed national protocols and that he had been a caring doctor throughout his career.