It was billed by the Health Board as the greatest thing since sliced bread.
No one should miss out on their bowel screening programme, they said.
However, it has now been revealed that three patients who had a colonoscopy died after a doctor failed to carry out appropriate follow-up care.
They were among six patients harmed between 2020 and 2022 when they did not receive suitable care following the procedure.
The male consultant responsible was suspended but resigned before disciplinary proceedings started.
The local health board has apologised and contacted all affected patients.
The vast majority of colonoscopies performed by the doctor were for patients in the bowel cancer screening programme.
A review found the doctor did not consistently follow up the results of investigations and some patients had missed the opportunity to be treated, including a number of people who went on to develop malignancy.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said it had reviewed 2,700 patients who had colonoscopies between January 2020 and November last year.
It found that 100 patients treated by the doctor in question were overdue their follow-up colonoscopy.
NHSGGC said it was not naming the consultant as doing so “would potentially” breach its data protection responsibilities.
But the board has confirmed the male doctor was suspended in November 2022 and that he resigned before disciplinary proceedings could go ahead.
Deputy medical director Professor Colin McKay said: “We would like to offer our sincere apologies to patients who were not followed up appropriately and our condolences to the families of those patients who have died.
“When errors were first discovered, an immediate, comprehensive review was carried out of all cases managed by the doctor since 2020.
“We would like to reassure patients that we have already contacted all those patients affected and that no other patients should be concerned that they may be involved.”
In a statement released to the media, the board said it informed the regulator, the General Medical Council, of its investigations when the issues were first identified.
Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “This is deeply concerning and it is shocking to think that there have been colonoscopy patients in Glasgow missing out on vital follow-up care.
“I am also angry that it has taken three years for anything to come to light on this issue. The lack of transparency is unacceptable.”
March 2022 – First patient identified
May 2022 – Review finds it is an “isolated administrative error” and no suggestion it was a wider issue
August 2022 – Second patient identified. Patient safety review commissioned into patients who had colonoscopies with endoscopist between April and August 2021.
September 2022 – Outcome of review highlights further issues. Disciplinary investigation and formal review into doctor’s practice begins.
A full review is undertaken of all colonoscopies carried out by the doctor between 2020 and November 2022
September 2023 – Detailed review of patient records and follow up for affected patients is completed.
- A contact number for patients has been set up for anyone who may have concerns or questions about these issues. The number is 0141 451 5435 and is staffed between 08:00 and 20:00 Monday to Sunday.