£5k Fine for Spire Welcomed by Lawyers Acting for Victims of Disgraced Surgeon

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Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

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In April 2021, Spire Healthcare were fined £5k after admitting it had failed to apologise or disclose details relating to failures in the treatment of its patients. We too welcome this fine, and as Solicitors acting on behalf of several individuals who were operated on by  Michael Walsh, we stand with to support those seeking justice.

The Care Quality Commission commenced Court proceedings against the private healthcare provider after it transpired that it had failed to tell patients about concerns relating to Mr Walsh for months after they had actually been discovered.

The challenge was brought amidst concerns that Spire had failed to comply with legal obligations to be open and transparent with patients and their families about failings in the care that they received as part of what is known as Duty of Candour. The report was released on 30 April 2021, and since its release, they have had to pay a total of £20,104.36 to four former patients.

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Response to the Judgment

Speaking on the matter, Sarah Dronsfield (Head of Hospital Inspection for CQC) said it sends a ‘clear message’ that as the independent regulator of health and social care in England, it will ‘not hesitate’ to act in these circumstances.

Here at Simpson Millar, we welcomed the landmark judgment which came one year after the firm first requested Spire to do more in respect of contacting those potentially impacted by the actions of shoulder surgeon Michael Walsh.

We have recently settled a claim against Spire on behalf of one victim of clinical negligence who continues to suffer pain and restricted mobility following surgery carried out by Mr Walsh and we have been instructed to investigate several other claims against the company regarding unnecessary or inappropriate shoulder procedures, and finger surgeries.

A solicitor in our Medical Negligence team explained:- “A Duty of Candour investigation is intended to provide an open and frank assessment of what happened. Where failings and avoidable harm have occurred, a ‘notifiable safety incident’ is triggered and should be investigated.

“Primarily, this should ensure that lessons are learned, that vital changes in procedures and policies are made, and that patients are notified so that they can receive the emotional and physical care and support that they need as a result of the negligent treatment that they received.

“Failing to comply with the regulations should come with a penalty such as this, and it is heartening to see that a prosecution was brought as it sends a clear message to other healthcare providers – private or otherwise – that the Duty of Candour has teeth.

“We’re currently instructed to act on behalf of several people who have been made aware of the concerns regarding Michael Walsh, and the symptoms described by those individuals are strikingly similar.

“Certainly, in the cases we are now handling the symptoms are very debilitating, and the restriction to movement and pain experienced is having a big impact on our clients’ lives – both personally, and professionally."

Simpson Millar is also representing clients who were contacted by Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull regarding a review of their potentially negligent treatment whilst under the care of once trusted Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons- Habib Rahman.

Recent Updates

Michael Walsh is still facing serious allegations as of January 2024 and in December 2023, he officially resigned from the medical register. He had worked at the Spire Hospital for 25 years and was suspended in 2018 over these allegations.

In 2021, a Court heard that Michael Walsh’s work “had a pattern of poor practice” with one patient still suffering pain after 14 operations on their wrist, shoulder and elbow.

report by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, external (MPTS) released that Mr Walsh was attending a hearing on 6 November 2023, where he urgently required medical attention. This resulted in proceedings being suspended. Soon after, he applied to remove his name from the General Medical Council (GMC) register, with the tribunal stating that he was "now in his late sixties" and would not be returning to medicine.

Since 2020, there has been almost 50 patients of Mr Walsh who have been contacted for a review of their treatment and there could still be more. If you have had any treatment whilst under the care of Mr Walsh then please reach out to our Medical Negligence Solicitors.


Contact Us

Official figures published in The Times in April 2023 show that the NHS spent £160 million paying bereaved families for failures resulting in death, including after equipment malfunction, bacterial infection and medication errors – demonstrating that medical negligence is a growing claims process.

If you have been affected by clinical negligence, you could be eligible to claim compensation. Our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors can offer you a free assessment and will guide you through the process of making a claim.

We have recovered hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation for people who have suffered as a result of medical negligence. We have also helped many claimants access the specialist care, treatment and rehabilitation they needed to rebuild their lives following these events. Call us on 0808 239 6043 and let us help you.



The Times. (n.d.). NHS spends £1m a week on failed legal battles with the bereaved. Retrieved from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nhs-spends-1m-a-week-on-failed-legal-battles-with-the-bereaved-pmjjvrccl

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. (2023). Case summary: Mr Michael Walsh - 24 Nov 23. Retrieved from https://www.mpts-uk.org/-/media/mpts-rod-files/mr-michael-walsh-24-nov-23.pdf

BBC News. (2020). Spire Parkway Hospital: Patients recalled over second doctor concerns. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c0d2381d9mgo

The Guardian. (2020). Scandal-hit hospital recalls patients over concerns about second doctor. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jan/24/scandal-hit-hospital-recalls-patients-over-concerns-about-second-doctor-spire-parkway

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (n.d.). What is Duty of Candour? Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/media/medical-negligence/what-is-duty-of-candour/

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). Care Quality Commission prosecutes Spire Healthcare Limited. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/releases/care-quality-commission-prosecutes-spire-healthcare-limited

Yorkshire Post. (2021). Spire Healthcare fined £5,000 for delay in notifying patients of concerns over care at Leeds hospital. Retrieved from https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/health/spire-healthcare-fined-ps5000-for-delay-in-notifying-patients-of-concerns-over-care-at-leeds-hospital-3219589

Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Georgina is a Solicitor who works in our Medical Negligence team here at Simpson Millar, based in our Manchester office.

She is a committed and highly reliable Solicitor with a track record of supporting clients through the process of making a claim to achieve the best outcome for them. Georgina has experience working on many high-value cases with a range of circumstances and complexities from start to finish, where she reviews medical records, liaises with experts and gathers evidence in order to negotiate the best possible settlement for her clients.

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