Trust knew about my past, says shamed doctor

An NHS trust which employed a gynaecologist who had been struck off to monitor other doctors' work knew of his past, he said today.

Richard Neale was struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council two years ago following a series of botched operations.

However, he has since been offered an administrative job auditing the work of doctors at the Wythenshawe Hospital by South Manchester University Hospitals Trust.

Mr Neale told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he had told the trust about his past.

"It was an advertised post, I applied, this was in March of last year. I was interviewed but not appointed and in the course of the interview I told them my tale, all about the GMC and my being struck off," he said.

"I must have impressed to a degree because a few days later the director of personnel called to say they wished to explore the possibility of employing me at some future date and that he had some inquiries to make and that they would get back to me.

"They did so about four days later and told me they would be pleased to entertain a further application when another post arose, which it did about four to five months later."

Mr Neale said it was him, and not the trust, who raised the issue of the GMC.

"It was me that made the reference to it. I sent them a detailed letter explaining precisely what had happened," he said.

Vanessa Bourne, of the Patients' Association, said that regardless of whether he was going to treat people it sent the wrong message to doctors as well as patients.

"What sort of message does it send to them that the person who is going to audit their work is someone who has been struck off for so many offences," she told Today.

"Is there really nobody else who can do this job?"

Last week the trust confirmed it employed Neale on a temporary contract from August 2001 to April this year.

Neale, 54, of Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, was banned in July 2000 from operating or treating patients after he was found guilty of 34 charges of botching operations.

He left 15 patients in pain, incontinent or unable to have children.

Most of the incidents occurred at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, although Neale also worked at hospitals in Leicester and London.