Group Legal Action:

Helping patients of spinal surgeon John Bradley Williamson

  • John Bradley Williamson

    Case investigation led by Francesca Paul

    Published: March 15, 2023 | Last Updated: February 8, 2024

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John Bradley Williamson

In March 2023 we called for more transparency into the results of an inquiry about spinal surgeon John Bradley Williamson, dealing with negligent treatment that was highlighted. We are looking for clarity and to ensure that all those affected were informed and supported in the most appropriate way.

Since this time there still has been no published report of the outcomes and it’s been reported that a number of patients have been asked to be part of an informal review.

As a surgeon Williamson specialised in spinal surgery to treat scoliosis and he treated parents from Salford Royal, The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and the nearby private Spire Hospital . He began working at Salford Royal Hospital in 1996 and was sacked by the trust in 2015. However, in September 2022, over 100 of Mr Williamson’s former patients were recalled for an assessment by surgeons at the Northern Care Alliance Trust, which now runs the hospital.

We have also been made aware that The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital may be undertaking their own review of patients who have been treated by Mr Williamson whilst they were a child. We are helping people who are navigating this process so if you are one of these people contact our team for a Free assessment.

Fletchers are supporting a former patients of Dr Williamson

We are helping support a former patient who has been part of this review and help them understand the ways in which they can seek justice for negligent treatment. Our client who is now in his 30s, underwent spinal surgery for a pre-existing condition which affects his bones and muscles at Salford Royal Hospital in 2012. In 2022 he received a text asking him to contact Salford Royal to discuss concerns relating to his treatment, and that several failings had been identified, including the use of an out-of-date MRI scan resulting in the screws inserted during the surgery being put in the wrong place. The was reviewed as part of the investigation and it concluded that had the scan been up to date, the complications experienced by our client following the surgery ‘may have been preventable’, and that if an MRI scan had been performed prior to the second surgery ‘it would have avoided the third surgery and may have seen a more rapid recovery’.

In the words of our client:

“When you go in for surgery of any kind you place your trust, and your health, in the hands of the professionals. You believe that they have your best interests at heart, and that they will do everything in their power to protect you.

It’s extremely difficult to read this report, after so many years, and to learn that so much more could and should have been done to protect me, and many other patients like me.

The impact of the failings identified continue to have a significant impact on me even now, more than a decade later, and I find that very difficult to come to terms with. However, what I find more distressing is the fact that the concerns regarding my surgeon’s practices were raised many times, across many years, including a 2014 internal investigation which was brushed under carpet.

No one should have to go through what we have been through, and I only hope that now that the true extent of the failings have come to light that the Trust acts on its promise to learn important lessons from what happened.”

Fletchers Solicitors in the news

We have been asked to comment in the national press regarding this, here are some of the links;

Salford spinal surgeon caused severe harm to patients – BBC News

Surgeon damaged dozens of patients by misplacing screws in their backs (thetimes.co.uk)

Calls for “full patient recall” in ongoing Salford surgeon investigation (salfordnow.co.uk)

If you have been affected by the treatment of John Bradley Williamson contact us for a Free Case Assessment.
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What did NHS England say?

An NHS-commissioned report concluded that the “unacceptable and unjustifiable” actions of her surgeon, John Bradley Williamson, “directly contributed” to her death. According to the report, Mr Williamson continued the surgery despite being explicitly told he needed a second consultant surgeon.

Christian Beadell, head of Group Actions, and Partner, said:

“Our client has had to wait more than a decade for this matter to be taken seriously, and for the actions of Mr Williamson in relation to his care, and the care of others included within this report, to undergo a full investigation.

The length of time this has taken is completely at odds with the NHS’s commitment to its duty of candour and, needless to say, those involved will have found it extremely difficult to discover the true extent of the failings identified in the care they received, which may have resulted in life changing complications.

The findings of the report will have also caused concern for other patients of Mr Williamson, whose treatments pre-date the scope of this investigation. We are calling for an independent review into both the actions of the surgeon, and into the Trust’s response.

Mr Williamson had worked at the Trust since 1991, and so arguably the majority of his patients will have been operated on prior to the scope of this investigation.”

A review following allegations by whistle-blowers

According to the Sunday Times article published in March 2023 and the follow up in July 2023, this review follows allegations by whistle-blowers of a cover-up by managers and a “toxic culture” within Mr Williamson’s surgery team.

According to the article an internal list produced by concerned clinicians in 2014 describes some of Williamson’s patients being left paralysed or in severe pain due to misplaced spinal screws and others being rushed back to theatre for life-saving surgery.

The actions of Mr Williamson have also been linked to the death of a 17-year-old who died during surgery from a catastrophic loss of blood at Salford Royal Hospital in Manchester. Commenting in the MEN, the Northern Care Alliance Trust confirmed that a spinal patient safety ‘look back review’ was initiated to ‘investigate patient safety concerns raised in respect of a Consultant Spinal surgeon who previously worked at Salford Royal’.

What’s the process?

When you contact the team we will provide a Free Case Assessment to understand what has happened to you, listen what you would like to achieve and ensure that you have a valid case to bring. Once we have identified that you have a legitimate claim we will begin an investigation.

In a group action this can be slightly different to a normal case as there will be parts which we can achieve as part of a wider group. Within this stage we will need to collect evidence, work out who is responsible and assess your injuries. When dealing with a group there may be efficiencies and hopefully you will be able to benefit from this. We will apply to the Court to let them know that we are dealing with the case. If needed we will get a Group Litigation Order.

We will then negotiate with the defendants in order for us to try and reach a favourable settlement. Once we have a decision or an agreement of settlement we will arrange for the compensation to be paid to you.

Why Fletchers?

We have a dedicated team who deal with Group Action claims and have the infrastructure that some smaller firms do not have to better support our clients and the process.

Our expert team acts for countless of people across the UK injured in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or clinic, or those who have received faulty medical devices. We are always stronger together, fighting as a group. You can also be reassured that our team are experts in clinical negligence and personal injury.

The lawyers in our teams have fought many similar cases and are ranked among the leading lawyers in these types of cases.

We are independently ranked as leaders in this field with Legal 500 Directory 2024 stating: “Fletchers has been at the forefront of using and developing IT systems to manage and progress cases effectively. They are specialists in what they do and give a personal service to their clients. They become someone you can turn to for anything. Friendly, helpful, nothing is a problem as well as being there for you every step of the way. They always answer your phone calls and emails – no waiting around. They go above and beyond.”

Meet some of our specialist Group Action team

  • John Bradley Williamson

    Christian Beadell

    Head of Group Actions

  • John Bradley Williamson

    Francesca Paul

    Associate