Surgeon once did seven hysterectomies in four hours

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The Independent Online
RODNEY LEDWARD was a flamboyant man fond of describing himself "the fastest gynaecologist in the South-east" after completing seven hysterectomies in four hours.

He was not a man who believed in hiding his professional success or the material rewards it brought. But behind it lay a tale of appalling professional neglect which left hundreds of women damaged in what has become one of the worst medical scandals in recent times.

To the outside world, the 58-year-old consultant surgeon presented an image of expertise and reassurance. He had 33 years' experience and had built up an international reputation in his field.

It got him an income of more than pounds 260,000 a year, pounds 200,000 of which came from his private practice at St Saviour's in Hythe, Kent. The rest came from an NHS job at the William Harvey Hospital in nearby Ashford. There were also lucrative lecture tours in the Middle-East, and the editorship of a Saudi Arabian medical journal.

Rodney Spencer Ledward was born in Stone, Staffordshire. After qualifying from London and Liverpool, where he earned a reputation for ambition and hard work, his career surged ever upwards, as he became a visiting professor at Rutgers medical school in the the US, he obtained a lecturing post at the Royal London, and he produced a series of papers on gynaecology and obstetrics.

Mr Ledward, who joined the William Harvey in the early 1980s, liked to think of himself as one of the opinion formers in his field, according to colleagues.

He has a home near Hythe, believed to be worth more than pounds 400,000, and another at Tower Bridge in London. He married Lady Jane Annabelle Howard in l983 and they have a 13-year-old son, Bertie. The family liked to take part in country pursuits.

The gynaecologist was dismissed without compensation but he is still entitled to an NHS pension, which is believed to be around half his salary. Although he has not worked in this country since his dismissal from the hospital post, he is thought to have applied for worked in Kuwait and Dubai, and sought lecturing assignments abroad.