A REVIEW into bowel surgery at Hinchingbrooke Hospital will cost taxpayers upwards of £15,000 but its findings are likely to be with-held from the public because of confidentiality rules, The Hunts Post can reveal.

A team from the Royal College of Surgeons arrived at Hinchingbrooke this week to begin their review of colorectal surgery at the hospital, following the deaths of two female patients from "rare but recognised complications" after routine operations there last year.

The team made up of an RCS representative, a colorectal specialist and a lay reviewer will be conducting interviews with members of staff, but will not be meeting patients and relatives, a RCS spokesman has confirmed.

However, as well as the findings of the two inquests into the deaths of Huntingdon woman Patricia Spooner, 67, and 51-year-old Jayne Smith of Somersham, the team is also going to consider other "serious incidents" at the ward.

Dr Richard Dickinson, medical director for Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, will agree the scope of the review with RCS representatives.

He said: "This independent external review will be wide-ranging and will include a review of all relevant documentation which is envisaged will include inquests and serious incidents."

Calls were made last week from the family of Alex Gleave, an 87-year-old, who died following surgical intervention at the hospital, to be among the cases reviewed.

More people have stepped forward with concerns about care at the ward, including former patient Angela Anderson.

The 52-year-old claims doctors at the hospital failed to identify an obstructed bowel following key-hole surgery she received there four years ago.

Mrs Anderson, of Almond Road, St Neots, now has a permanent colostomy bag and has been told she will never be able to work again. She says delays diagnosing the problem lead to the collapse of her bowel.

"Last year I was referred to a specialist bowel hospital in London and had a 16-hour operation. I had another six and a half hour operation in March this year, and they are still looking to do another one.

"My stomach is a mess, I cannot work and I cannot get any recompense."

The RCS is charging an initial fee of £15,000 for the review, which is expected to be finished in October. In addition, each reviewer is paid £350 per day for a site visit with travel and subsistence expenses on top.

The final report will be the property of Hinchingbrooke Hospital. Senior managers at the hospital are yet to decide if the report will be published, but publication could be denied if it contains patient information.

However, recommendations may be passed on in the public interest to regulatory bodies such as the General Medical Council, the National Patient Safety Agency or the Care Quality Commission.

INFORMATION: Patients who are unhappy with the service that they have received should contact the hospital's Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) between Monday to Friday from 9am to 2.30pm on 01480 428964 or e-mail pals@hinchingbrooke.nhs.uk or they can write directly to chief executive Nigel Beverley. Patients who want their experiences to be part of the review should write to Dr Dickinson at the hospital.