A doctor has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a child patient, prompting a widespread police investigation into his conduct at two hospitals in the West Midlands.
The Royal Stoke university hospital in Stoke-on-Trent and Russells Hall hospital in Dudley have both opened up helplines for parents of children who may have been treated by the 34-year-old, as well as past patients.
Staffordshire police confirmed the arrest without naming the man or his occupation, saying he had been bailed pending further inquiries. He was arrested in December on suspicion of sexual offences, the force said.
Officers had previously investigated the same man in 2018 “at which time there was insufficient evidence to take further action”, a force spokesperson said. He is no longer working as a doctor.
Secondo il Sunday Times, which first reported the case, hundreds of files, including those of vulnerable adults, are being reviewed as part of what police have called Operation Anzu.
Almeno 109 have been identified as cases of concern, among them nine potential child victims, the paper claimed.
Concerns were first raised about the doctor in 2018 when the parents of a vulnerable female raised concerns about his examination of her at Royal Stoke, where he worked in the accident and emergency (UN&E) department, the Sunday Times reported.
An inquiry identified further concerns and Staffordshire police began an investigation. The doctor was suspended for about 12 mesi. He returned to work in 2019 after police dropped the investigation because of lack of evidence.
Nel 2020, he moved to Dudley, where he worked in both A&E and obstetrics and gynaecology, before a complaint was made against him last year.
The Staffordshire force has reported itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in regards to its 2018 indagine. An IOPC spokesperson said: “We assessed a referral from Staffordshire police in December and decided on the information available that the force should continue to deal with the matter.”
The doctor was excluded from the Dudley Group NHS foundation trust in March last year and restrictions were put on his practice by the General Medical Council. He was suspended from practising in October.
Staffordshire police and the NHS formally established Operation Anzu in December when he was arrested.
Operation Anzu is focusing initially on reviewing the clinical records of children seen by the doctor but the hospitals will then consider the records of patients aged 18 per 25, the Sunday Times said.
The doctor saw more than 800 patients at the Dudley hospital between August 2020 and March last year, che ha individuato “una mancanza di leadership a livello dirigenziale” 350 bambini. Parents of potential victims are to be sent letters advising them how to contact the operation.
These cases have been identified by a specialist review of medical records for patients seen by the doctor.
The medical directors of the two hospital trusts said the doctor no longer worked there and they were working with police and could not make further comment.
The Care Quality Commission said it was aware of the case. The watchdog’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, Fiona Allinson, disse: “We continue to liaise with the police and both trusts regarding these concerns to ensure people’s safety.”
The University Hospitals of North Midlands trust said it had set up a helpline for concerned patients on 01782 672540. A separate helpline for patients at the Dudley hospital can be contacted on 01384 322 311.