Advising with empathy and experience

Trust apologises for surgeon's unnecessary surgery on 90 women.


A rogue surgeon went “undetected” for years as he carried out unnecessary operations on at least 90 women who may have suffered harm, a report has found.

Consultant gynaecologist, Dr Daniel Hay, 55, had no clear reason to operate on dozens of patients at Royal Derby Hospital and Ripley Hospital, an independent investigation overseen by NHS England has said.

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust has now apologised and said the report showed 50 women were “likely to have been harmed” as a result of Hay’s actions. A further 69 patients were “potentially harmed”, it said.

The trust is reviewing the case notes of 383 women who are being asked to share their experiences between 2015 and 2018, although the review is likely to be widened after its initial investigation.

An interim report said it had “major concerns” about the care of 40 patients where there was an “unclear rationale” for carrying out hysterectomies and laparoscopies, and had some concern about a further 51 operations where there were “deficiencies in consent or lack of exploration of alternatives.”

It also found major concerns about the treatment given to nine outpatients and some concerns about 16 others. The treatment of three patients in obstetric care is also under consideration.

The report said that Hay’s actions were discovered only after he went sick in July 2018. When other consultants took over his workload, questions were raised about why some patients had not been offered alternatives before surgery.

The doctors identified complications in some patients treated between 2017 and 2018 and an external investigation was launched after an initial review found operations were “not necessary or could have been avoided.”

Investigators said that Hay carried out hysterectomies or sterilisation without trialling any treatment first or explaining why surgery was needed.

In many cases, no second opinions were sought. The report, by a team of external experts, said: “The review has clearly highlighted considerable concern about decision making and the choice of surgery.

“A common theme is that the rationale for surgery was absent, or not clear, and that management plans did not exhaust non-surgical options prior to embarking on surgery.”

It recommended that the trust consider bringing in external support to understand how concerns went “undetected till recently”, while also urging it look at older cases treated by Hay, who worked in the NHS for nearly three decades.

Lawyers for some of the women have already said that patients treated by Hay before 2015 had been “ignored and silenced” by the limited scope of an NHS investigation into his actions.

Hay, who was originally from Chester, studied medicine at the University of Liverpool and registered as a doctor in 1991. In the late 1990s he worked as a specialist registrar at hospitals around Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire before becoming a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Hay, a married father-of-two was appointed a consultant at the trust in 2005 and was also an associate professor in medical education at Nottingham University.

He remains registered with a licence to practice but has conditions on his ability to work, including to notify the General Medical Council if he accepts any posts.

The trust did not initially name Hay as the doctor under investigation until The Times newspaper revealed that he was the consultant at the centre of the allegations.

Hay has said that he has retired after suffering mental health problems and that he had apologised to women for any harm caused through the hospital.

Executive medical director at the trust, Dr Magnus Harrison, said: “I want to make a full and unreserved apology to all those women who have identified as being harmed.

“The standard of care these women received was far below that which we strive to provide and for that I am very sorry. The interim report sets out some immediate recommendations and these are either currently under way or will start shortly.”