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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Whistleblower surgeon to return
Prince Philip Hospital Llanelli
Miss Caiach is to return to Prince Philip Hospital
A "whistleblower" consultant who has been on extended leave from a Carmarthenshire hospital for more than two years is to return to work.

Orthopaedic surgeon Siān Caiach was suspended from her duties at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, in April 2000.

Sian Caiach
Sian Caiach: 'Happy' to be returning to work
Miss Caiach, 44, had claimed private patients were being treated at the hospital while NHS patients were turned away because of a beds crisis.

The consultant also said surgeons and anaesthetists were carrying out private operations on NHS time and getting paid twice.

Part of the surgeon's prolonged absence has been through maternity leave following the birth of her fourth child - a daughter - 22 months ago.

In a statement, the Carmarthenshire NHS Trust confirmed Miss Caiach was now undergoing training and would return to work once it was complete.

Petition

Supporters of the surgeon have been actively campaigning on her behalf for the last year and have collected a 6,000-name petition calling for her reinstatement.

"I'm happy to be going back to my job at last," said Miss Caiach, who was appointed with the trust in 1994.

She said it was not yet clear when she would return full-time but she expected to be back at her post part-time in November.

However, she said she was not happy with the way the matter had been dealt with.

"It has taken so long and I don't think it has been properly handled.

Graham Reeves
Graham Reeves: Bungled operation

"What has come out has been how great the support of my patients has been and the local community and the staff as well."

Miss Caiach is currently travelling to Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales one day a week for a refresher course in joint replacement.

"It has difficult for me to get to Cardiff more than just occasionally and its now been agreed I shall get training later in the year nearer to home in Swansea and west Wales."

Since Miss Caiach has been away both the trust's former chief executive and chairman have been replaced.

Legal action

The authority has also been embroiled in another controversy following the death of a patient 70-year-old Graham Reeves after the wrong kidney was removed in an operation at Prince Philip Hospital.

Two independent inquiries have been carried out into the operation but their findings have not been published until the conclusion of a legal case.

Two surgeons involved in Mr Reeves' operation are due to face manslaughter charges at Cardiff Crown Court in July.

Miss Caiach, meanwhile, has been active politically during her leave from her job, standing as a candidate in Gower for Plaid Cymru during the General Election.

She said she may also consider standing for selection as a candidate for the party in next year's Welsh Assembly elections.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

30 Dec 98 | Health
18 Feb 00 | Wales
11 Feb 00 | Wales
19 May 98 | Your NHS
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