Concerns about disgraced Dundee surgeon Sam Eljamel’s practice were raised years earlier than previously established, The Courier can reveal.
Records from the General Medical Council (GMC) show a complaint was handled by the doctors’ watchdog prior to 2008, years before the rogue doctor was suspended.
The fresh revelation adds another twist to the timeline over when medical professionals first became aware of Eljamel’s unfitness to practise.
It also raises further concerns that the Libyan doctor, who fled Scotland years ago, may have harmed patients over a longer period while working at Ninewells Hospital.
A health board report in August showed the first complaint by a patient was lodged in 2011.
The details uncovered by NHS Tayside’s internal review led to First Minister Humza Yousaf ordering a public inquiry into the Eljamel scandal a week later.
Previously, health board bosses insisted 2013 – the year Eljamel was placed under supervision and then suspended – was when concerns were flagged.
Meanwhile, whistleblowers claim they signalled the alarm to NHS Tayside in 2009.
GMC bosses confirmed a complaint was looked at during the period from 1995 to 2007.
It’s not known what the eventual outcome of this complaint was, or whether concerns had been raised by a patient or health professional.
It’s understood NHS Tayside would not have been made aware of this complaint as a matter of course by the GMC.
The health board would only have been alerted if the concerns raised had been escalated into a larger investigation.
The GMC was told last month by UK information regulators to reveal complaints lodged against Eljamel after initially refusing.
Lead campaigner Pat Kelly, who was harmed by Eljamel in 2007, had been pushing for the medical watchdog to share records of complaints flagged up against the surgeon.
According to the GMC, 16 were made in total concerning the rogue doctor between 1995 and 2023.
But Mr Kelly fears the number of former patients who have flagged their own mistreatment may be greater.
The former Dundee DJ tried to raise his own case with the GMC in 2015, but was unable to since the five-year window for making a complaint had passed.
Following the latest discovery, he told us: “It is worrying.
“The released figures raise even more questions than they answer. Did NHS Tayside know about this “triaged” complaint raised between 1995 and 2007?
“Were there any complaints to the GMC prior to 2011 when NHS Tayside said they first knew something was wrong with Eljamel’s clinical practice?”
He added: “My operation was in 2007, and I complained to the GMC in 2015, effectively meaning I was time-barred.
“How many other complaints were dismissed because of this five year time rule? So, are the GMC complaint figures actually higher than they say?”
The GMC states its five-year rule for launching a complaint is a “safeguard” against older allegations.
But the watchdog does say accusations of misconduct can still be probed if they are deemed to be in the public interest.
More than 100 patients in total have come forward claiming they were harmed by Eljamel during his stint working for NHS Tayside.
A spokesperson for the GMC said: “We have responded to a Freedom of Information Act request concerning Dr Sam Eljamel, in line with the Information Commissioner’s instructions.
“Our records indicate that 16 concerns about Dr Sam Eljamel, were recorded between 1995 and 2023. One complaint was received between 1995 and 2007.”