Consultant urogynecologist, George Rowland, was responsible for hundreds of medical and surgical errors at Aintree Centre for Women’s Health – an outreach unit for Liverpool Women’s hospital , based at Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
These errors led to life-changing injuries for hundreds of women who were given the incorrect treatment for incontinence between 1990 and 2007.
Many underwent completely unnecessary surgery which left them in a worse condition as a result.
Sadly, in many cases the damage could not be undone and they have been left with far more serious and lasting health problems than when they first went into hospital.
I represent the vast majority of George Rowland’s patients who brought clinical negligence claims against Liverpool Women’s Hospital in Toxteth.
To date 239 women have been awarded damages totalling £12million for the pain and suffering he has caused.
It was and still is one of the biggest group actions against the NHS, but is also an example of what can be achieved when those on opposite sides work together.
Due to a scarcity of medical experts with the relevant experience and availability, joint experts were appointed to report their findings to me and the NHS Litigation Authority. This was a logical solution which meant the cases could be resolved more quickly and also spared his victims from having to go through what had happened to them twice. It also enabled the NHS to save a substantial amount of money in payment of legal and expert fees.
No amount of money can change the outcome for these women, but they can at least feel some sense of accountability and that justice has now been done.
Clear warning signs were there, but the Trust’s management at the time failed to take heed of them and the welfare of patients was severely compromised as a result.
What matters going forward is that lessons are learned and all Trusts abide by the ‘duty of candour’ – a legal obligation now placed on all healthcare providers to notify patients if there has been a mistake in their treatment.
Openness and honesty is vital if the NHS wishes to ensure mistakes like this are prevented in the future.
Ian Cohen is a clinical negligence solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Liverpool.
If you have been affected by clinical negligence our clinical and medical negligence solicitors offer a free consultation for victims of clinical negligence and medical accidents. Call us on 0800 112 4664 or tell us what happened so we can provide you with expert legal advice at no cost to you.