A SCANDAL-HIT surgeon accused of botching operations during his career at Pinderfields Hospital has blamed funding problems and a heavy workload.
Christopher Ingoldby, of Roundhay, Leeds, this week told the General Medical Council s professional conduct committee it was not possible for him to regularly see every patient and carry out every test before surgery.
Mr Ingoldby is accused of 'serious errors before, during and after operations on 12 patients at Pinderfields Hospital, six of whom later died. He denies all the allegations.
Mr Ingoldby told the hearing how he worked at both Pinderfields and Clayton Hospitals in addition to a private clinic at Methley Park s BUPA Hospital, which, he said, caused 'considerable difficulties .
He said: "Apart from communication it is difficult to see patients in one hospital if you are in the other one.
A survey of his workload in 1994 revealed 3,500 outpatients in the year, a figure 'significantly in excess of the national average. His total hospital admissions were also 'well above average at between 14,000-15,000 a year, the hearing heard.
Mr Ingoldby s QC Sally Smith asked: "Did you feel able to cope with the number of patients you were seeing? "Yes." He replied.
Mr Ingoldby accused the back up services at Pinderfields of being inadequate to cover all his patients.
"What impact did that have on available resources?" asked Miss Smith.
"The practical implication was that one had to be selective about what one investigates and tests." he replied.
Earlier in the week, Miss Smith, said the charges levelled at his conduct were 'exceptionally minor or 'completely speculative and should be thrown out.
Shortly before the surgeon was due to give evidence in his defence, Miss Smith applied for the case to be dismissed for the third time in three weeks.
She told the hearing: "There is not enough evidence to support the allegations, even if they constituted serious professional misconduct. If there is misconduct it is of an exceptionally minor degree."
The hearing continues.
SIX of the allegations of serious professional misconduct against Christopher Ingoldby were dropped this week because of lack of evidence.
The former Wakefield surgeon faces a ten page long list of allegations by the General Medical Council relating to his time as a consultant at Pinderfields Hospital.
But this week the GMC s professional conduct committee dismissed some of the charges against the surgeon.
They include failing to inform patient B or his family about his condition before an operation to remove a tumour from his bowel.
They also found that the gastrectomy operation of patient J in July 1997 was not inappropriate, and deleted allegations he had not got informed consent from patients J and L before their total gastrectomy operations.
This week Teresa Kirk, a daughter of Patient L, Brian McDermott, claimed: "Mr Ingoldby had a brief consultation with my dad before the operation. My dad had no idea his surgery could include removal of the spleen and he was not informed he might have to take medication afterwards."
Mr McDermott died hours after surgery for stomach cancer in 1997. A splenic vein tie became displaced during the operation resulting in massive bleeding.