THE MOTHER of a young woman who died from cervical cancer has backed calls for a public inquiry into the treatment and care provided by a former consultant.
Sandra Cousins spoke out after an investigation was launched into Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) consultant obstetrician Kenneth Jones, known as Rob.
Her daughter Mercedes Curnow, from Crowlas, lost her battle with cervical cancer aged 23. Mrs Cousins believes she could have lived if she had been given a smear test when symptoms first began. Instead, she was sent away by her GP because she was under the age of 25.
Since the investigation into Mr Jones began last month, 1,574 women have been contacted for feedback on their care. RCHT said this week that 42 women had been seen in specialist clinics.
"It is vital any women who were treated by Rob Jones call the hotline number that has been set up immediately," said Mrs Cousins, who added that Mercedes was never treated by Mr Jones.
Following her daughter's death, Mrs Cousins began The Mercedes Curnow Foundation for early detection of cervical cancer, campaigning to raise awareness of the disease in young women as well as fighting to lower the screening age from 25 to 20.
Supporting calls by law firm Irwin Mitchell for an independent inquiry into the RCHT case, she said: "I know only too well the huge risks women face if cervical cancer is left undetected and untreated and it sickens me that in this day and age, when the technology is there to help women beat the disease, that many are battling for their lives unnecessarily."
Mr Jones had worked at the hospital for 20 years before he was suspended in May. RCHT later revealed that there had been eight previous investigations into his work.
A report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in May raised a number of concerns about his work including the frequency of surgical complications.
Irwin Mitchell is now writing to local MPs calling for an independent public inquiry.
Announcing the review in November, Lezli Boswell, RCHT chief executive said: "As a result of concerns raised by our staff about Mr Jones we ordered an immediate internal investigation.
"The trust is committed to finding out the full extent of the problems caused by this individual consultant's clinical practice and will take all steps necessary to ensure we do the best by our patients who have received poor treatment or care.
"Mr Jones is no longer employed by RCHT and has not worked at the hospital since May 2012."
The helpline for anyone concerned is 0800 1804514.