The Herald

£250,000 a year for spine surgeon who botched operations


FRESH questions about the system of checks on private hospital surgeons have been raised after it emerged a Scottish spinal surgeon who bungled operations potentiall­y earned more than £250,000 from 400 operations in a year.

Colin Campbell Mainds, whose mistakes included failing to adequately examine patients before performing surgery, admitted to a medical tribunal that he let his workload spiral out of control, performing the surgery and taking on 630 patients in 12 months.

David Russell, one of the patients treated by MrMainds whogave evidence at the tribunal, said: “He made more in a year than many people will earn in a lifetime. I am disgusted that he is able to carry on working considerin­g many of his patients are condemned to never working again or a lifetime blighted by disability or pain.”

Nine patient stories were investigat­ed by the medical tribunal but numerous people have since spoken out and contacted lawyers saying they are unhappy with the outcome of surgery performed by Mr Mainds.

Surgeons working for private hospitals tend to be self-employed and therefore not subject to the European Working Time Directive.

While many surgeons work for both the NHS and the private sector, Mr Mainds left the NHS completely in 2005. He did, however, treat NHS patients who were sent to BMI Ross Hall hospital in Glasgow by health boards who needed help to meet the Scottish Government’s waiting-times targets.

Last week the Medical Practition­ers Tribunal Service hearing concluded its investigat­ion into complaints against him, including seven cases where he treated NHS Lothian patients.

Dr Jean Turner, executive director of the Scotland Patients Associatio­n, said: “I think there has been a rush to get waiting times down. This surgeon has been available. His competence is maybe a bit behind his confidence and his bank balance is rising.

“It would be interestin­g to know what audit he did on his patient (outcomes).

Jackie Baillie, health spokeswoma­n

for Scottish Labour, added: “We need to ensure that surgeons who perform operations, whether NHS or private, are not overworked and their skills are up to scratch.”

BMI Healthcare has said Mr Mainds never worked excessive hours or seven days a week and his caseload was always reasonable and manageable. The company also said its hospital executive directors would intervene if they considered that a consultant was over-working.

While the company has said it has been unable to participat­e in a Scottish audit of joint replacemen­t operations since the system became electronic in 2006-7, it added: “BMI Healthcare has always had robust systems in place to monitor individual consultant­s. Data is routinely collected on a number of outcome indicators including complaints, hospital readmissio­ns and returns to theatre.”

 ??  ?? COLIN MAINDS: Took on 630 patients in 12 months.
COLIN MAINDS: Took on 630 patients in 12 months.

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