Enable Law completes Rob Jones protocol cases

 

Picture of jigsaw piecesEnable Law has completed its cases in the Rob Jones Group Action protocol, just over 5 years after the first women came forward.

Enable Law represented around 200 women in claims involving obstetrician and gynaecologist, Rob Jones.

Mr Jones had been a consultant at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (Treliske) from 1992 until 2012, when he resigned after the hospital published an internal investigation into wide-ranging concerns about his practice.

It soon became clear that some of Mr Jones’ colleagues had started raising concerns about him from the mid-1990s. Worse still, those concerns were investigated by his managers in 2000 and 2007 – but ignored.

After the 2012 investigation went public, hundreds of women came forward to find out if they had been affected, and Enable Law represented the majority of these women.

Enable Law started negotiations with Treliske Hospital, who agreed to suspend the time limits for bringing a claim (normally 3 years) and to provide funding for legal investigations.

All the women potentially affected therefore had the chance to ask an independent expert to review their case. This was extremely important at a time when their confidence and trust in the hospital had been shaken.

As the cases progressed, Enable Law had to fight to obtain crucial documentation about Mr Jones and to make sure the defendants honoured the agreements they made at the start of the process. The fact that so many women came forward gave real weight to our arguments.

The group of cases also provided Enable Law with an insight into how organisational failings allow negligent doctors to operate under the radar for far too long – something which is sadly a recurring theme in the news at the moment.

Frustratingly, Mr Jones was never properly investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) because he took himself off the medical register. However, one of Mr Jones’ managers was later struck off for his failure to take action.

Ultimately, around 70% of the cases ended with some compensation being paid. Compensation amounts ranged from £500 to £160,000. Some of the most serious cases involved injuries to the mother or baby at birth, delays in diagnosis of cervical cancer, avoidable hysterectomies and permanent bladder or bowel incontinence due to substandard surgery.

It was not – and rarely is – all about the compensation. The women wanted answers. They wanted to get their voices heard. Above all, they wanted to hold Mr Jones to account and to make sure that things changed for the women of Cornwall. It was a privilege to be a part of that process.