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Calling all doctors/medical professionals - question re. status of surgeon

(28 Posts)
DiamondsAndRust Sun 23-Feb-14 23:39:13

Have already posted below about my dad's upcoming heart operation, but thought I'd start a new thread for clarity's sake as I essentially have one question now and I'm getting increasingly concerned about it.

Basically, we're very concerned as my dad seems to have been allocated a surgeon for his triple bypass who is not registered with the Royal College of Surgeons, and who does not have specialist registration with the GMC. I was under the impression that all consultants/specialists had to be officially registered, but this doctor is foreign trained, so I was wondering if there was some loophole that would allow him to practice outside usual procedure. There is no information whatsoever about this 'surgeon' on the internet, and we have thus far been unable to gain any reassurance at all about his surgical record.

We've left several messages with his secretary to try to clarify all this, but have heard nothing back from her. Meanwhile dad is booked in for a pre-op chat/tests/bloods this coming Tuesday, but he won't be seeing the consultant - in fact, there seems to be no opportunity for dad to discuss things with his surgeon in advance of the operation, which is currently booked in for March 13th. Is this normal? I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I'm beginning to get the impression that the hospital (Bart's) doesn't want us to find out anything about this doctor. Any ideas on why this could be?

I have very limited medical knowledge myself, so am finding all of this slightly bewildering! Any help gratefully received, even just to tell me I'm being paranoid!

Paintyfingers Sun 23-Feb-14 23:44:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iklboo Sun 23-Feb-14 23:46:43

The Specialist Register (a register of doctors who are eligible for appointment as substantive, fixed term or honorary consultants in the health service in the UK) was introduced on 1 January 1997. From 1 January 1997, all doctors taking up a post as a substantive, fixed term or honorary consultant in the health service in the UK, are required to be on the Specialist Register.

The GMC is required by law to maintain the Specialist Register. Since 1 January 1997 a doctor may not take up appointment to any post as a consultant in the National Health Service (NHS) unless their name is included in the Specialist Register. An exception to this requirement is any doctor who held a post as a consultant in oral and maxillo-facial surgery in the NHS immediately before 1 January 1997.
Doctors need to apply for entry onto the Specialist Register and meet the criteria set down in legislation. Some will have completed a period of formal specialist training in the UK certified by the GMC, or the organisations previously responsible for this, the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB, 2005-2010) or its predecessor the Specialist Training Authority (STA, 1996-2005). Others will have been awarded qualifications in specialised medicine by an appropriate competent authority in other Member States of the European Economic Area. Others still will have been found eligible by the PMETB, the STA, or the GMC, following an assessment of the specialist training undertaken and/or the specialist qualifications awarded in the UK or elsewhere.
Because entry onto the Specialist Register is a requirement for appointment (rather than employment) as a consultant in the NHS, some established NHS consultants are not entered onto the Specialist Register - simply because they were appointed before 1 January 1997 when this requirement came into effect. Other doctors who are, or were, eligible to apply for entry onto the Specialist Register may have chosen not to apply for entry because they did not, or do not, intend to seek appointment as a consultant in the NHS.
The GMC operates a scheme for what are known as 'existing specialists', which enables doctors who are not entered onto the Specialist Register, but who were appointed as consultants in the NHS or in the UK armed forces before 1 January 1997, to apply for entry onto the Specialist Register.

(From gmc website)

SinkyMalinks Sun 23-Feb-14 23:48:02

If he is a consultant, he will be in the specialist register. Any doctor working in the uk will be registered with the gmc (in fact, they list even those who have relinquished registration or had it removed). Both these can be checked on the gmc list of registered practitioners. Can be googled. You need his/her name, but can use a "sounds like" function. If you can get a gmc number, even easier.

This will tell you where and when they graduated (including abroad), when they gained gmc registration and if they are on the spec register (have been recognised as completed training).

It will not have details about his surgical practice/outcomes. If you have concerns, speak to the dept/pals if more specific concern. Who has he seen in clinic? It is odd to be "allocated" to a specific surgeon without having met them.

Not seen your other thread. Hope that helps.

iklboo Sun 23-Feb-14 23:50:23

You can ask the hospital for the surgeons GMC reference number & phone them to ask about his registration. They won't be able to tell you about his qualifications or operating 'record' but they might be able to help with registration details.

DiamondsAndRust Sun 23-Feb-14 23:52:19

Thanks Paintyfingers - British Heart Foundation was my next port of call. Will give them a ring tomorrow.

I think all surgeons do now have to report their surgical data/outcomes, but have had a look and the data only runs from 2009-2012 - so if he did not reach specialist status until after 2012 he presumably wouldn't appear? However, it looks like he first qualified as a doctor in 1987, and has been registered (though not as a specialist) with the GMC since 2000, so this seems slightly odd.

We've only been allocated him because dad's operations was 'pooled' and this surgeon's waiting list was only 3 weeks, as opposed to 3 months for most of the rest of his colleagues, but given the lack of information on him this too is now ringing alarm bells for me.

DiamondsAndRust Sun 23-Feb-14 23:54:39

SinkyMalinks - just to clarify, he is definitely registered with the GMC (I've found him on there) but it has he has no specialist registration. Does this mean he's a doctor but not a consultant? And, in that case, presumably he shouldn't be performing cardiac surgery?

iklboo Sun 23-Feb-14 23:54:59

Not odd to have qualified in 1987 but not register with GMC until 2000. Doctors only need GMC registration when they practice in the UK.

DiamondsAndRust Sun 23-Feb-14 23:55:12

Sorry - it states he has no specialist registration.

DiamondsAndRust Sun 23-Feb-14 23:56:53

Ah, so he'd have been qualified but practising abroad. Thanks iklboo.

Paintyfingers Sun 23-Feb-14 23:57:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Paintyfingers Sun 23-Feb-14 23:58:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DiamondsAndRust Mon 24-Feb-14 00:01:16

Thanks Paintyfingers - I don't want to come across as fussy - I'm really not, and my poor old dad is the most passive, uncomplaining patient imaginable. It's just that this doctor seems to be such an unknown quantity. There really is no information on him out there whatsoever, and no one has had an opportunity to meet (or even speak) with him. All we want it some reassurance really.

Paintyfingers Mon 24-Feb-14 00:02:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DiamondsAndRust Mon 24-Feb-14 00:02:33

Oh, and yes, Painty, done that. Googled extensively. Nothing out there - no private practice, no record from other NHS hospitals, no LinkedIn profile - nothing.

cafecito Mon 24-Feb-14 00:07:38

ncbi pubmed articles authored by them?

I really think you have nothing to worry about though nhope your dad is in better health soon

Paintyfingers Mon 24-Feb-14 00:10:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Paintyfingers Mon 24-Feb-14 00:12:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cafecito Mon 24-Feb-14 00:12:46

he's sure to have had extensive surgical training before moving to the UK - please don't worry Barts are excellent and nobody has time to pull wool over eyes - there is no conspiracy theory
definitely not MRCS after name?

If you're not happy (actually if your dad is not happy) you can ask to meet with them, you don't need to consent until you are happy, but I'm sure they are excellent

cafecito Mon 24-Feb-14 00:16:04

Hi painty! try as I might I never quite manage bed before 5am despite being up at 7

actually heart surgery is one area that has had this push for published info following Keogh

DiamondsAndRust Mon 24-Feb-14 00:18:47

Yes, seen both of those - he's not on either. Also not listed as a named consultant on hospital's own letterhead (the doctor he had his initial consultation with is listed, but he's the one who advised dad to enter the pool in the first place, as his own waiting list is 3 months). Just seems odd to me.

Completely knackered, so off to bed now, but thanks so much everyone for all your help with this so far - much appreciated.

cafecito Mon 24-Feb-14 00:20:32

but as yet still not all are published - remember it is the consultant level outcomes that are published so it wouldn't be expected to find a surgeon's outcome data unless they are consultant

cafecito Mon 24-Feb-14 00:24:26

surgeon and consultant are not one and the same, there is a long route to consultant while you are still a surgeon iyswim, but to get to surgeon at Barts and have an extensive career beforehand is reassuring sign indeed. Surgeons all have extremely rigorous training. If his own consultant recommended this to your dad he obviously trusts it implicitly as an option and is saying this because it is important for the op to be done asap, not wait 3 months for a more familiar surgeon.

cafecito Mon 24-Feb-14 00:27:57

sorry multiple posts - it's not odd, try not to worry - but if very unhappy then refer back to his team/consultant for further information. It is absolutely not odd at all that there is sparse information on a surgeon. But I do completely understand the anxiety as it is a hugely scary thing to trust someone with such an operation, any operation - a life. Please don't feel it's weird of the hospital but equally please feel comfortable asking questions because it is a daunting time indeed for your family, no matter who the surgeon is.

weasle Mon 24-Feb-14 00:37:44

Most likely he is a Locum consultant. Don't need to be on spec register as a Locum, just for a substantive post.

Phone secretary tomorrow to clarify.

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