Early this year we reported that North Bristol NHS Trust had begun a review of Anthony Dixon, a colorectal surgeon, following concerns raised by patients. The trust found evidence that some patients had undergone unnecessary mesh surgery, known as laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy, and should instead have been offered alternative treatments. Following the enquiry, Mr Dixon was dismissed from the NHS in June 2019.
Mr Dixon saw his private patients at Spire Bristol Hospital. Spire withdrew his practising privileges from all its hospitals in 2017. Due to the outcome of the trust’s enquiry, Spire commenced its own review looking at whether the surgical recommendations that Mr Dixon made to patients were appropriate, whether the surgery was carried out to an acceptable standard and the care overall.
The outcome of Spire’s initial review suggests that more patients have been affected than initially thought to be the case. As a result, Spire has set up a clinical advisory group comprising four expert external colorectal surgeons. Under the formal review process, Spire is offering patients a consultation with its experts, the purpose of which is to identify whether there are any concerns about the care provided by Mr Dixon. If there are concerns, the case will be referred for a further review which will examine the pre-operative assessment and diagnostic pathway, including investigations, the quality of the consent process, whether it was appropriate to offer mesh surgery and the quality of the surgery itself. At the end of the review, the patient will receive a letter summarising the outcome of the investigation including comments on the standard of care and whether the patient has suffered any harm.
Elise Bevan, a solicitor in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, says: “We anticipate that the concerns over Mr Dixon’s management of patients and news of Spire’s formal review process could well cause significant worry and stress. We are currently representing a number of Mr Dixon’s patients and would invite anyone who is unhappy about the care they received from him or who has received a letter from Spire to contact us. We have an experienced team of solicitors who understand the issues involved and are supportive and sympathetic.”