A Norfolk surgeon accused of botching operations and leaving patients with life-changing injuries must face a tribunal at which he could be struck off the medical register, an investigation has ruled.

Camilo Valero, who continues to work in the gastro-intestinal department of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), is to be summoned to the hearing following complaints about three gallbladder surgeries he carried out in the space of five days in January 2020.

One of these was on Paul Tooth, 65, who has described how he was left ‘mutilated’ and now needs tubes out of his abdomen and up his nose to recycle bile 10 hours a day.

Another was on Lucy Wilson, 35, was left almost immobile with chronic pain and incontinence.

In both cases, Mr Valero removed their bile ducts and parts of their livers, rather than just taking out their gallbladders.

The third patient has not been named.

At the time NNUH medical director Erika Denton told this newspaper: “The surgeon is no longer performing this kind of surgery on his own, but after two reviews none of the other aspects of his clinical practice are in any doubt at all.

"He is an abdominal general surgeon, and he's very good at it. I would have no hesitation letting him operate on my own children."

However the General Medical Council (GMC) launched its own investigation into Mr Valero’s conduct and having concluded there is a case to answer has escalated the matter to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), which has scheduled a hearing for January.

A panel will hear from the GMC and their witnesses, including the injured patients, as well as from Mr Valero.

Should the MPTS conclude his fitness to practice is in doubt, it may issue sanctions including a suspension of his medical licence or striking him off the medical register altogether.

Mr Tooth said: “The GMC say this is so serious it’s worth taking it to an MPTS tribunal, yet the N&N refused to escalate it beyond a Level One investigation, which we found out through a Freedom of Information request they classify as ‘not for serious incidents’."

Ms Wilson said: “The fact it will now be heard at a medical tribunal speaks volumes. The NNUH tried to sweep the whole thing under the carpet and say ‘it’s one of those things’ but we and the other victims are relieved we will finally get our day in court.

“Our lives have been changed forever and nothing can give us that back.”

A spokesman for the NNUH said: “We continue to assist the GMC and MPTS with their enquiries and interim conditions are in place, which are in line with the supervision arrangements already in place following our own internal investigation and recommendations from a Royal College of Surgeons review.”


In February Mr Tooth’s daughter Sarah Burrell submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the NNUH asking for details of similar events and their investigation reports.

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the Trust had 20 working days to reply, but four months later despite numerous phone calls the family was still waiting for a response.

The Information Commissioner's Office stepped in, ruled the Trust was in breach of section 10 of the Act, and warned the NNUH that further failure to comply would result in the ICO writing to the High Court - who could find the Trust in contempt of court.

An NNUH spokesperson said: “We are sorry to Mr Tooth and his family for the delay in responding to their Freedom of Information request. We have provided them with the answers to their questions under the Freedom of Information Act and we have informed the Information Commissioner’s Office.”