Staffordshire Police have launched Operation Anzu after identifying nine potential child victims and at least 109 cases of concern – the doctor, 34, has been arrested and has since been released on bail
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An NHS doctor has been arrested on suspicion of child sexual assault as police have identified at least nine potential victims, it has been reported.
The doctor, 34, was suspended following a complaint in 2018 while he was working as an A&E clinician at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
Parents of a vulnerable female had raised concerns about an examination four years ago.
However, police dropped the probe due to a lack of evidence and he was allowed to return to work.
In December, he was arrested after becoming a subject of complaints over the examination of two girls, aged seven and 15, at the Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, West Mids.
Staffordshire Police have now launched Operation Anzu after identifying nine potential child victims and at least 109 cases of concern.
The medic saw more than 800 patients between August 2020 and March last year while working in the A&E departments at both hospitals and in the obstetrics and gynecology at Russells Hall.
More than 350 of those patients were children.
The medic was excluded from the hospital trust in March, before being suspended by the General Medical Council in October.
Staffordshire Police and the NHS have launched a major incident review and are combing through the work he did while at both hospitals, The Sunday Times reports.
Operation Anzu will focus on reviewing clinical records of children seen by the medic, but the hospitals will also look at records of adult patients aged 18 to 25.
This review includes going through hundreds of files and setting up a helpline for potential victims.
Furthermore, letters have been sent to potential victims on how to contact Operation Anzu.
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
The cases were identified following a specialist review of medical records for patients seen by the doctor.
In 2018, the doctor was suspended following allegations from the parents of a vulnerable patient, before an inquiry identified concerns from other patients.
The case was then raised to senior management at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which then began a formal investigation and contacted Staffordshire Police and the General Medical Council.
He was suspended for about 12 months but was allowed to return to work in 2019 after police dropped the investigation due to insufficient evidence.
In August 2020, the medic then completed a two-year training course and took up a role at Russells Hall Hospital.
Last year, the alarm was raised again following complaints in relation to the examination of two girls.
He was excluded from the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and conditions placed on his practice by the General Medical Council in March, before he was suspended from his role in October.
The doctor has been released on bail, with a representative saying he refutes all allegations that he committed any criminal offence.
Staffordshire Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
An IOPC spokesperson added: “We assessed a referral from Staffordshire police in December and decided on the information available that the force should continue to deal with the matter.”
The doctor is no longer working at either hospital, it has been confirmed.
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust Medical Director Dr Matthew Lewis said: “This doctor no longer works at Royal Stoke University Hospital. We are working closely with Staffordshire Police and cannot make any further comments at present.”
A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: “A 34-year-old man, from the West Midlands, was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in December 2021. He was released on bail with conditions pending further inquiries. An investigation is ongoing.
“Staffordshire Police is also reviewing an investigation into the same suspect it undertook in 2018, at which time there was insufficient evidence to take further action. An Independent Office Police of Conduct (IOPC) self-referral has been made by Staffordshire Police in regards to the 2018 investigation.”
The University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust says a helpline is available “for any patient and guardian who may have concerns” on 01782 672540.
A separate helpline for patients at the Dudley hospital can be reached via 01384 322 311.