The trial of a rogue doctor

On 2 February 2018, a rogue doctor Sudip Sarker was found guilty of fraud by false representations. Three days later he was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

In 2011, Sarker applied for the position of Consultant General Surgeon with specialist experience in key hole surgery at the Worcester Acute Hospital Trust.  Sarker doctored his CV and application form and during the interview claimed he had performed more than 80 key hole surgeries, and more than 50 of these he had done solo. He painted himself as a very experienced surgeon. This was not true. In fact, the number of procedures he had performed was in single figures.

Sarker doctored his CV and application form and during the interview claimed he had performed more than 80 key hole surgeries, and more than 50 of these he had done solo. He painted himself as a very experienced surgeon. This was not true. In fact, the number of procedures he had performed was in single figures.

On the back of his deliberately misleading interview, Sarker was hired in August 2011 and secured an annual salary of around £84,000. He treated patients at the Alexandra Hospital and Worcester Royal Hospital in Redditch. He also worked at a number of hospitals privately.

In July 2012, concerns were raised and Sarker was referred to the Royal College of Surgeons. However, Sarker was allowed to continue to treat patients and operate while the investigation was carried out.

Such was the level of concern over the standard of Sarker’s treatment, immediate advice was given to the Worcester Acute Hospital to stop the surgeon having contact with patients while the Trust’s investigations continued. The Royal College of Surgeons also recommended that the Trust contact the GMC. Although the report has never been published, a review of the medical records found that the death rates among Sarker’s patients were double those of other surgeons in the same field.

Sarker was suspended on full pay in October 2012. He remained suspended for a further 14 months until his eventual dismissal.

The criminal investigation began in 2013 and during that summer, there are reports that over 50 people called the dedicated helpline with concerns about Sarker. The West Mercia Police have not disclosed the full extent of patients who may have been affected.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has said that they have cooperated with the police and acted swiftly in reviewing medical records of patients who had been treated by Sarker. However, the Trust has been left with a several million pound bill for compensation and legal fees. This is likely to increase.

Some might consider it unfair that a Trust woo-ed by this rogue doctor is now left to pick up the pieces. However, surely he shouldn’t have been able to get away with it for as long as he did? What systems were in place to ensure patient safety and what can or should have been done to substantiate Sarker’s claims of expertise prior to his employment?

Some might consider it unfair that a Trust woo-ed by this rogue doctor is now left to pick up the pieces. However, surely he shouldn’t have been able to get away with it for as long as he did? What systems were in place to ensure patient safety and what can or should have been done to substantiate Sarker’s claims of expertise prior to his employment?

It is also worrying that despite concerns raised and Sarker being referred to the Royal College of Surgeons in July 2012, he was allowed to continue to treat patients until October that year.

Many patients found out about Sarker’s substandard treatment through the press and they were given little information about the extent of the investigations.

NHS Trusts must learn from this event and tighten their safeguarding systems to prevent criminal doctors behaving in this way in future. The sentence handed down to Sarker reflects the severity of this crime.

The most important consideration to be taken from this should be Hospital Recall procedures. Patients and families of patients who were treated by Sarker and other Rogue Doctors will understandably be worried about their treatment. For the majority of patients, it is not about the money they could receive in compensation. They want to understand what has happened and receive reassurance from the Hospital that systems have been reviewed to ensure that this will not happen again.

Olivia Mitchison

Olivia Mitchison is asolicitor in the Medical Negligence team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.
Olivia Mitchison

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Sharwan
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Sharwan

I just wonder why UK has to import doctors ? Why does the UK not encourage it’s youngsters to go in for this field ? Is there no love lost among the youngsters for their own people ? Why do they have to be dependent upon doctors, nurses etc for their own well being ?

Sharwan
Member
Sharwan

I just wonder why UK has to import doctors ? Why does the UK not encourage it’s youngsters to go in for this field ? Is there no love lost among the youngsters for their own people ? Why do they have to be dependent upon doctors, nurses etc from abroad for their own well being ?