Roger Bainton, a maxillofacial surgeon who worked at North Staffordshire Hospital between 2005 and 2013 has been erased from the medical register by a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) because his fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of his misconduct.
The University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust conducted a review into the treatment Bainton gave to his patients after colleagues raised concerns that he was exposing some of them to unnecessary risk by using new and unproven techniques to treat fractures of the lower eye socket and carrying out unnecessary surgical procedures. He was suspended from the Trust in February 2013 and subsequently dismissed.
His fitness to practice was investigated by the GMC and following an MTPS hearing in which evidence was heard in relation to the treatment he afforded to 11 of his patients between 2005 and 2012, the MTPS determined that:
‘Mr Bainton’s misconduct was so serious, persistent and shocking that a finding of current impaired fitness to practise must be made in order to protect patients, to maintain public confidence in the profession, and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.’
The MTPS found a number of failings including a failure to communicate adequately and appropriately with his patients, undertaking procedures that were not clinically indicated and carrying out experimental surgical procedures using experimental materials when treating orbital floor defects without explaining the experimental nature of the procedures.
Phil Barnes, national head of Shoosmiths medical negligence team, who represents one of Bainton’s former patients who gave evidence at the MTPS hearing commented:
‘The MTPS findings raise serious concerns about the adequacy of the supervision and appraisal processes that were in place at the Trust. It is unacceptable that Bainton was allowed to carry out unnecessary and experimental surgery on his patients without challenge over a 7 year period. This is not an isolated incident, a lack of adequate supervision and appraisals also allowed Ian Paterson to carry out unnecessary procedures on his patients. To ensure patient safety across both the NHS and private sector there needs to be a public inquiry to investigate the adequacy and effectiveness of appraisals and supervisions of surgeons. There must be a robust and effective supervision structure across the NHS and private sector to stop these rogue surgeons from being able to inflict needless and avoidable harm on patients.’