22nd June 2023: 1430 – Response to report[1] of NHS Tayside whistle-blowers by BBC News.

The Patient’s Action Group seeking a Public Inquiry into the actions of NHS Tayside and their surgeon, Sam Eljamel, is heartened to hear of three whistle-blowers coming forward with information that only strengthens our call for a full Public Inquiry.

Indeed, as a result – our supportive MSPs Liz Smith[2] and Michael Marra have reasserted their support that a Public Inquiry is the only way forward.

As we stated before when we rejected the offer of an independent review by The Scottish Government’s Health Secretary, Michael Matheson, we believe that in order for the entire situation to be thoroughly investigated it requires review into the surgeon, their medical colleagues, the management, the NHS Tayside board, the governance organisations (i.e. HSE, NHS HIS, etc) and the Scottish Government themselves. Only a full Public Inquiry can be truly independent of all these organisations and deliver a robust review of all aspects.

This is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Do not think that this is only about 100 patients, and counting, that were harmed during one surgeon’s tenure[3] at NHS Tayside. Who allowed Eljamel to continue to be employed for this long and continue to do harm? Even the whistle-blowers today confirm concerns back to 2009, though some of our patients claims go back longer, and NHS Tayside continued to take no real action. This also appears to be news to The Scottish Government – and that demonstrates the contempt that NHS Tayside has towards their oversight.

Let us also pause for a moment to remind you that successive Scottish Government Health Secretaries, names you may recognise and several of whom failed upwards to become First Ministers[4], have failed continually to tackle the situation – either during the time of Eljamel being active or after. In fact, Humza Yousaf continues[5] to misunderstand the scale and breadth of the problem trying to deflect criticism only on the surgeon and not those that enabled him. How should any of them be expected to investigate themselves or their own political party. They cannot.

NHS Tayside even felt it was ok for Eljamel to chair their Specialist Services Group Clinical Governance Committee from 2006 to 2010 – though they apparently cannot provide any meeting minutes for these vitally important meetings.[6]

Because of these continued failures and the fabricated belief by the Scottish Government that a quickie ‘independent’ investigation to brush things under the carpet – we have, today, started to engage with the Secretary of State for Scotland and will be seeking a UK-wide Public Inquiry. They cannot be trusted to investigate this themselves, and we have patients and families who are not located in Scotland – this is not a Dundee thing, this is a nation-wide travesty.

These new revelations by whistle-blowers will likely be of interest to Police Scotland’s current, long standing, investigation into Eljamel; and will be looked closely at by our own legal adviser to see how this informs potential civil actions.

Meanwhile, as ever, we continue to campaign that the only route left…

  • to achieve transparent, unbiased, and honest answers.
  • to have essential learning and enact real change.
  • to hold to account those responsible.
  • to help and support those patients living with what happened.
  • to rebuild public trust in NHS Tayside to care for them, even now.

…is by having a thorough and independent Public Inquiry.

We must get to the truth as soon as possible,
to safeguard all patients who rely on healthcare in Scotland.

We are demanding a Public Inquiry NOW!!  We will not give up.


[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-65904293

[2] Liz Smith MP Interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland ‘Lunchtime Live’ at 1200 16th June 2023, reiterated her support for public inquiry – archive: https://www.eljamelinquiry.org.uk/media-archive/bbc-radio-scotland-lunchtime-live-coverage-of-whistleblower-news-interview-with-liz-smith-msp-16-june-2023-1200/

[3] Neurosurgeon Eljamel was employed by NHS Tayside from 1995 through to his removal in 2013.

[4] Shona Robison SNP was Minister for Public Health and Sport 2007-11, then Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport 2014-18, currently Deputy First Minister; Nicola Sturgeon SNP was Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing 2007-12, then First Minister 2014-23; Alex Neil SNP was Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing 2012-14; Jeane Freeman SNP was Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport 2018-21; Humza Yousaf SNP was Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care 2021-23, currently First Minister. The current Health Secretary (appt. 2023), Michael Matheson SNP, was the Minister for Public Health 2011-14. Take note: several of these individuals had responsibility, in some fashion, over healthcare matters during the activities of Eljamel and NHS Tayside.

[5] The Courier – 19th June 2023 – archive: https://www.eljamelinquiry.org.uk/media-archive/the-courier-eljamel-scandal-humza-yousaf-explains-public-inquiry-stance-on-disgraced-dundee-doctor-19-june-2023/

[6] Appointment and lack of records disclosed by NHS Tayside under a Freedom of Information Request by this PAG


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