Cancer Surgeon Sudip Sarker Eventually Sacked Following High Death Rates

A senior cancer surgeon who is currently not only being investigated by the General Medical Council, but also West Mercia police has only recently been sacked from his post as Consultant Surgeon by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Mr Sudip Sarker remained at the Trust for over 3 years after his colleagues first raised concerns about his surgical practice.

Mr Sarker worked as a Consultant Surgeon at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which incorporates both the Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra Hospitals in Redditch.

West Mercia police are continuing a criminal investigation into a least three of his patients who died following surgery. The investigation began in 2013 when the police received a letter outlining reports about his medical practice.

Mr Sarker had already been referred to the Royal College of Surgeons in 2012 after colleagues had concerns about his practice. The investigation found that his death rates were twice as high as doctors in
similar fields and that one in five of his patients were re-admitted following surgery.

Mr Sarker had an eight percent mortality rate, with six patients dying within 28 days of surgery. The two comparable doctors had three deaths between them in the same period. The Telegraph reported that a coroner will hold a joint inquest into the deaths of three of his patients who all died last year after surgery at The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

However, despite the Royal College of Surgeons investigation Mr Sarker was still allowed to continue to operate on patients (with supervision) until October 2012 when the Trust eventually suspended him.

He was suspended from practicing medicine in the UK by the General Medical Council (GMC) since June 2014, but remained employed (although he was on suspension) in his £85,000 per annum role until July 2015, when he was eventually dismissed. This in itself highlights part of what is wrong with the way NHS funds are spent. The costs of litigation can be avoided by the constant monitoring of the practices of their staff and responding promptly when concerns are raised. The NHS should be looking to avoid claims by ensuring patients receive the best possible care, not care given by sub-standard doctors.