Victims of disgraced surgeon Sam Eljamel have won another victory in their hunt for answers after a top UK doctors’ watchdog was ordered to reveal complaints lodged against him.
Lead campaigner Pat Kelly had pushed for all concerns about the former NHS Tayside neurosurgeon to be shared by the General Medical Council (GMC).
He hopes his victory will help shed further light on the scandal once the relevant data is made public.
It comes just weeks after campaigners who were harmed by Mr Eljamel finally won their long-running fight to secure a public inquiry into the scandal.
The rogue doctor repeatedly botched operations and harmed patients when he was employed at Ninewells Hospital between 1995 and 2013.
An internal review published by NHS Tayside in August exposed huge failings which paved the way for an inquiry to be announced.
In the meantime, campaigner Mr Kelly, from Dundee, was pushing the General Medical Council on its refusal to declare all complaints it had received.
The medical body, which keeps a register of all doctors working in Britain, argued it was not compelled to answer Mr Kelly’s questions.
Bosses claimed they could not get consent from Eljamel to release his personal information since he fled Scotland years ago and is believed to be in Libya.
However, it was ruled by UK information regulators that the need for the truth over concerns about Eljamel was stronger than his right to privacy.
Hailing the decision, Mr Kelly told us: “I feel this is a major victory for me and another major step to get at the truth of who knew what and when.
“I believe it is a wake-up call for all medical organisations who think they can keep their secrets hidden away from public scrutiny.
“I want to know when the General Medical Council and NHS Tayside actually knew about his negligent practices.”
For a long time NHS Tayside bosses claimed they had been unaware of any concerns about Eljamel’s behaviour prior to 2013.
Yet the health board’s landmark report admitted patients had raised the alarm about the shamed neurosurgeon as early as 2011.
Whistleblowers have previously alleged medical staff brought forward concerns in 2009, four years before Eljamel’s eventual suspension.
In his questions to the doctors’ watchdog, Mr Kelly has specifically asked for bosses to share all complaints on record from 1995 onwards.
Disgraced surgeon Eljamel voluntarily removed himself from the General Medical Council’s register in 2015, barring him from practising in the UK again.
Shortly afterwards Mr Kelly had asked the doctors’ watchdog to disclose all complaints that had been brought forward against the rogue medic.
He appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office when the General Medical Council refused to comply.
At the time, they rejected his plea and claimed it would “not be fair” and “distressing” to Eljamel if the information was released.
A General Medical Council spokesperson said: “We note the Information Commissioner’s decision, which we are currently reviewing.”