Police are liaising with Derby health officials about an NHS internal investigation. Officers have said they are “working closely” with the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire police said: “We are aware of an internal investigation by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.” No criminal investigation has been launched at this time. We will continue to work closely with the hospital whilst their investigation continues.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that the discussions relate to surgeon Dr Daniel Hay, from Alfreton, whose treatment of 100s of women patients has given “cause for concern”. The LDRS also understands that the police have set up Operation Land Guard to consider if the actions taken by Dr Hay amount to criminal offences and will be working with the Crown Prosecution Service.
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The LDRS understands that victims are encouraged to dial 101 and quote Operation Land Guard, if they wish to report any alleged crime directly. Dr Magnus Harrison, trust interim chief executive, said: “We continue to work with Derbyshire police, as we have done throughout the investigation we are performing.
“We will continue to keep them informed as we look to publish the report into the investigation later this year.” Karen Reynolds, a Derby clinical negligence lawyer for legal firm Freeths, is representing dozens of Dr Hay’s former patients in claims over the standard of care he provided.
Ms Reynolds says she is asking her clients whether they want to be involved in a potential police investigation and says she will be assisting any such investigation in any way they can. Dr Hay is currently under investigation by the Derby trust, NHS England and the General Medical Council.
This relates to care he provided to women between 2015-2018 while an obstetric and gynaecological specialist based at Royal Derby Hospital, including care provided at Ripley Community Hospital. The investigation so far includes 383 women identified as former patients of his which may have cause for concern.
An interim report published by the trust last May found that there are “major concerns” that 50 women suffered harm and “some concern” that 69 further women suffered harm as a result of his care. The Medical Defence Union, acting on behalf of Dr Hay, has been approached for comment.
In July last year, the MDU issued the following statement in relation to Dr Hay. It has not commented on the investigations into his work since. Dr Hay, speaking through the MDU, said: “I apologise to the women affected by the NHS investigation. I am co-operating with the investigation, however, due to my ongoing mental health issues, I ask that you please respect my privacy at this time.”
Dr Hay relinquished his medical licence in July 2021, meaning he is no longer able to practice medicine. Interim restrictions have been applied to his licence since October 2020, through the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. An interim report from NHS England was published in May last year and a full report is due later this year.
The interim report found that Dr Hay frequently opted for major and intrusive surgeries as a first option, without discussing other alternatives with patients or explaining why he had disregarded other, less-severe or less-intrusive procedures. There was often no rationale given for Dr Hay’s apparent “surgery first” approach and there was “sufficient evidence of a lack of a coherent thought process”, the report said.
Investigators were particularly concerned at a frequent lack of any pre-operative counselling being given to patients before such a major and life-changing commitment as a hysterectomy. The report says Dr Hay’s documents and records were found to be “poor” and investigators have had to assume that if he has not recorded exploring other options or advising patients of their choices, then this did not take place.
Of the 50 major concern cases identified, 40 relate to major intermediate and gynaecological surgeries, nine are gynaecology outpatients and one is an obstetric (baby care) care case. Of the 69 cases in which there is some concern of potential harm caused, 51 are for major surgeries, 16 are gynaecology outpatients and two are for obstetric care.
Dr Hay is said to have stopped all clinical work at Royal Derby in July 2018 and retired citing mental health difficulties in July 2020. His own colleagues triggered a review into his practice in late 2018 and the hospital trust, now the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, announced a review in April 2020.