The orthopaedic specialist, who was working in a hospital run by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, was investigated following a whistleblowing complaint which was fully upheld by the board.

Official documents state that the private work was cancelled and a spokesman for NHS GGC said the unnamed doctor is no longer employed by the health board.

Details of the case emerged in the board’s annual whistleblowing report.

The consultant was also, separately, referred to the Counter Fraud Service but no action was taken.

Data provided by Health Secretary Michael Matheson showed there were 43,681 people waiting for orthopaedic procedures – such as hip and knee replacements – at the end of last year.

This included 2207 patients who had been waiting two years or more, and 225 who had waited at least three years.

READ MORE: Analysis: What are the consequences of waiting list backlogs in the NHS?

The ability of NHS consultants to carry out private practice in their non-NHS time is an essential part of the flexibility and freedom built into national contracts according to the British Medical Association.

Doctors are obliged to disclose any private practice commitments to their employer but do not require their permission.

Consultants should not spend time discussing private treatment with patients during NHS consultations. When patients raise questions about the availability of private treatment, it is advised that consultants refer enquiries to their private secretaries.

A spokesman for NHSGGC said: “We cannot comment on the individual circumstances of this case due to data protection rules.

“We have always supported staff to speak up if they have concerns about any aspect of their work or that of others.

“All staff who raise concerns are protected to do so through our Speak Up and Whistleblowing policies, and we take all concerns raised through the NHSGGC Whistleblowing processes very seriously.”

READ MORE: Number of patients enduring extreme A&E waits doubles in three weeks 

A total of 19 whistleblowing cases were taken forward by the health board in 2022/2023, down from 29 the previous year.

The report shows that 100% of Stage 1 complaints were responded to within the target of five working days but only a quarter of the more complex Stage 2 were dealt with within 20 days.

The health board said Stage 2 investigations are complex and involve site visits, interviews and review of multiple forms of evidence and said meeting the target had been challenging.

Three cases are being independently reviewed by the  Independent National Whistleblowing Officer (INWO).

There has been a significant reduction in the average number of days to respond to a Stage 2 case which previously sat at 89 working days in 2021/22 and is now 26.


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