AN independent investigation has been launched by health bosses after allegations that two of its senior consultants were referring patients to their private clinic for treatment – costing the NHS up to £1million.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) took the step following claims in the Birmingham Mail concerning Stephen Pandy and Steve Lake.
It says the clinic, The Worcestershire Bowel Clinic, based at the private Spire South Bank Hospital in Worcester, was registered by the doctors in January 2012 and began receiving patients after it opened in October 2013 – paid for by taxpayers as part of a drive to hit government set targets through the Waiting List Initiative.
However the two doctors didn’t declare a pecuniary interest in the clinic to health chiefs until 2015.
It’s further alleged the work was not put out to tender and that WAHT failed to take any action despite the conflict of interest being higllighted.
Both doctors are clinical directors at WAHT, Mr Pandey, aged 43, of colorectal surgery and Mr Lake aged 60, of endoscopy, and in these roles they are charged with ensuring patients are treated effectively to meet cancer waiting time targets.
It is also alleged they were among the leading clinicians to success -fully argue for the centralisation of bowel surgery at Worcestershire Royal, achieved in 2013 which led to the closure of the service at the Alexandra Hospital.
Chris Tidman, interime chief executive of WAHT said: “We will be setting up an independent investigation.
The two consultants are aware of the concerns and have assured us there has been no wrong doing on their part and have agreed to fully cooperate in the investigation.”