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Trust apologises after 27 cancer patients harmed.

A health trust has apologised to the cancer patients of a consultant urologist who has been sacked over allegations that his treatment harmed some patients. East Surrey Hospital, part of Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, has written to 27 prostate and bladder cancer patients seen by Paul Miller between 2006 and last December.

The consultant was suspended before being sacked after an “open and transparent” internal investigation. Mr Miller, who has described his dismissal as "unjustified", is under formal investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Complaints were first received last November. The Trust said that, based upon each patient's clinical history, an external panel of consultant urologists "found that 27 patients came to harm because of the treatment they received under the former trust urologist's care". Five of Mr Miller’s patients later died, although the trust says, "it wouldn't be correct” to connect this to their treatment.

Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust medical director, Des Holden, said that the affected patients had been left with a higher chance of the cancer returning. Patients were not told about the full option of available treatments or the possible consequences of their choices under informed consent guidelines. The care of a small number of additional patients “fell below expected standards" although the experts felt they had not been harmed as a result.

Mr Holden said: "I apologise for the errors in these patients' treatment. I acknowledge and appreciate that the outcome of the clinical review and the content of the letters will be deeply distressing to our patients and their families.

Mr Miller said "I am extremely disappointed that it has decided to dismiss me. I strongly believe that this is unjustified and welcome the opportunity to co-operate with any investigation. My priority as a consultant for the last 21 years has always been to protect patients' best interests and safety."

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