A Skegness doctor has spoken of his sadness at being unable to carry on caring for his patients at Beacon Medical Practice, where he has been a partner for 18 years, in spite of being cleared by the NHS of alleged clinical concerns.
Dr Oluropo Ojo said patients were worried he had suffered a heart attack or had cancer when he was absent from work for several weeks at the beginning of the year.
However, in an interview with the Skegness Standard, Dr Ojo said that was not the case.
The former consultant specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics at Lincoln County Hospital said he had, in fact, received a letter from the partners in January stating; “We consider we cannot continue in partnership with you”, requiring him “not to participate in the work of the Partnership for a period of three months”.
This was in spite of a review of his work by the NHS Performance Advisory Group, following allegations they received of “poor record keeping in terms of referrals for minor surgery” that “could not be substantiated”. The review also said: “No clinical concerns had been identified”.
According to the partners’ letter to Dr Ojo, the next step “will be for all of us to meet under the auspices of the Local Medical Committee to see whether a reconcilliation of the divergent interests can be achieved with the view of the Partnership continuing normally thereafter”.
I have spoken out because I wanted my patients to know why I am leaving. My only crime is that I go the extra mile for my patients.Dr Oluropo Ojo
However, there has been “no mediation”, said Dr Ojo “I believe I received the letter because I dared to challenge the partners over the ‘retirement’ of Dr Bolo Taiwo in December.”
The “retirement” of Dr Taiwo, who practised at Beacon’s Chapel St Leonards and Ingoldmells practices, was also covered by the Standard. In a statement at the time , Dr Taiwo said it had been a difficult decision to “retire” having left his family in Africa to join Beacon 15 years earlier.
He thanked his patients for their “trust and confidence” and his wife “who has put up with my perpetual absence from home due to the geographical location of Skegness”.
However, even then there was concern by patients, with the Standard receiving calls and a letter claiming morale at the practice was “at rock bottom”.
Before the Standard was contacted by Dr Ojo, we were again called by another concerned patient.
Preferring not to be named, she said: “We are losing all of our good doctors. There used to be 13 partners and now there are only six.
“More and more responsibility is being piled on the clinical practitioners, who do an excellent job, but it’s not the same as having your own doctor.
“I’ve been a patient here for a long time and am worried about what is happening.”
Dr Ojo said when he read Dr Taiwo had stated he was “retiring”, he respected his decision to call it that.
“I vetoed Dr Taiwo ‘retirement’, as is my right as a partner.
“I hoped we could all move forward and put the care of the patients first. I’m ‘old school’ and believe we have a calling as doctors to be able to look after our patients and not let any differences cloud what we sign the Hippocratic Oath to do.”
Dr Ojo said he was pleased to see Dr Taiwo was again practising at a surgery in the area, but had been devastated to receive the letter from the partners in January.
“I came to Skegness from Lincoln County Hospital where I was a specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics,” he said.
“It was at a time when the government began encouraging more specialist care in surgeries, and I hoped the practice would celebrate this.
“While here I helped establish the surgical unit and, at great cost to myself and not the practice, bought an ultrasound machine to reduce the anxiety of patients who otherwise would have been referred to Boston or Lincoln and have to wait for results. I was happy to do this because I like to see the patients happy, and I am proud I came to be known as ‘the listening doctor’.”
Dr Ojo said he consulted a legal team after receiving the letter from the partners, but eventually decided things had gone too far for him to carry on working there.
“I consulted a legal team because I did not want to leave. But in spite of being told I had a good case it became clear carrying on here would be unworkable.
“I hoped to be allowed to remain practising at the surgery until the end of the year so I could pass on my skills to the younger doctors and because my five-yearly revalidation was due in June .
“However, it was agreed I should stay until the end of September.”
Dr Ojo, who lives with his wife in the home outside Lincoln where they brought up three children, spent his last day at the Beacon Practice on Friday.
“I have spoken out because I wanted my patients to know why I am leaving,” he said.
“My only crime is that I go the extra mile for my patients.
“If at all possible I will look to carry on practising somewhere in the area.”
A spokesman for the Beacon Medicat Practice said: “Due to our confidentiality agreement we are not able to make any comment with respect to the content of your email. Dr Ojo has been a long standing and valued partner of the Practice and we would like to wish him well in his retirement and thank him for his service.”