(left) Ami Law and Rachel Alderson of Ison Harrison

Patients who may have been treated by a Leeds-based surgeon specialising in trauma and orthopaedic procedures are being encouraged to come forward over concerns about the care or treatment they experienced.

Specialist medical negligence solicitors at Leeds law firm, Ison Harrison, have already been instructed to act on behalf of 27 former patients of Mr Michael Walsh, to investigate both NHS and private care they received at Spire Leeds Hospital and Nuffield Leeds Hospital.

In one of those cases, earlier this year Ison Harrison’s medical negligence team successfully recovered damages of £50,000, plus legal costs, due to negligent shoulder surgery carried out on a male patient from Leeds, by Mr Walsh at Spire Leeds Hospital. Adrian Joynson, a married father from Leeds who was under the care of Mr Walsh from 2015 had his first operation at the age of 27, was found to have undergone three unnecessary surgeries. He has been left with ongoing pain and discomfort, restricted movement and extensive scarring.

Mr Walsh had been working at Spire Leeds Hospital until April 2018, when Spire Healthcare started investigating concerns raised about him. Mr Walsh, who worked at the same private healthcare firm as rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson, no longer works for Spire Healthcare following his suspension.

Management at Spire Leeds Hospital contacted the Royal College of Surgeons to assist with its investigation into Mr Walsh’s and shared findings with the Care Quality Commission and the General Medical Council (GMC). The resulting investigation uncovered examples of Mr Walsh harming patients by performing surgery on them unnecessarily or to an unacceptable standard.

Sadly, it was also subsequently found that Spire Leeds Hospital delayed telling patients about concerns regarding Mr Walsh after worries had been raised by multiple sources about his methods and surgery in 2017. Spire Leeds Hospital later pleaded guilty to four counts of “non-compliance with the duty of candour” under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. During the hearing, the court heard how four patients had to wait too long before they were properly informed of the “potential harm” caused by Mr Walsh and concerns were raised about his outdated methods and questionable surgery in 2017 by a number of sources, including a fellow upper limb specialist and physiotherapists he worked with.

The patients, currently being represented by the team at Ison Harrison, underwent shoulder, elbow or hand/wrist surgery performed by Mr Walsh. The majority of these cases appear to be based at Spire Leeds Hospital but a number relate to Nuffield Leeds Hospital, with the possibility that some cases may not have yet been identified. Nuffield Health has only recently started investigations into Walsh’s treatment of patients.

Ami Law, solicitor at Ison Harrison commented: “It is extremely distressing for patients when they discover that the cause of their ongoing pain and suffering may have been caused by inappropriate or substandard surgery, and may have been avoided. It can affect their mental health and invade almost every part of their life. It is important that such cases are investigated thoroughly and sensitively.

“At Ison Harrison we are a recognised team of specialist medical negligence solicitors, who pride ourselves on supporting clients throughout a time that can be both distressing and challenging.

“As we are already representing a number of Walsh’s patients, we have the advantage of being able to recognise recurring themes, so any potential failings can be quickly identified. This enables us to efficiently investigate a patient’s concerns and reach a resolution in a timely manner.

“It is important that anyone who is concerned about the treatment they received from Mr Walsh comes forward, as it’s probable that there are many more patients who have potentially been caused harm or suffering. Concerned patients should not delay seeking advice, as there are strict timeframes in which you are able to make a claim.”