Medical Law Experts Call For Public Inquiry Into Birmingham Surgeon

Lawyers Demand Answers As To What Went Wrong And Say Someone Must Take Responsibility

16.11.2012

Medical lawyers representing victims who underwent mastectomies that were carried out using a non-standard surgical technique at the hands of surgeon Mr Ian Paterson are demanding an urgent investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and a Public Inquiry to provide answers to the hundreds of women affected by his surgery.

Mr Paterson is alleged to have performed over 1000 ‘unnecessary, inappropriate or unregulated’ operations while working at various NHS and private hospitals from 1996 to 2010. Many have been told they need further surgery or that the surgery they underwent was unnecessary.

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are representing a group of women, one of whom was given a cleavage sparing mastectomy (CSM) as recently as 2010, three years after Mr Paterson was told to stop performing this procedure.

A panel of law firms helping the women involved, including Irwin Mitchell, will now notify the CQC, the Strategic Health Authority and Solihull’s local MP, Lorely Burt, encouraging them to show their support for a full Public Inquiry.

Mr Paterson has been suspended from practice and the GMC are currently investigating, along with the police, but Irwin Mitchell lawyers say enough is enough and have demanded a Public Inquiry taking into account responses from all relevant authorities to help provide answers to the hundreds of women affected by Mr Paterson’s surgery.

Irwin Mitchell say they have been contacted by many women who have only been made aware of the Mr Paterson’s non-standard surgery by reading press reports, rather than being contacted by the hospital trust or private hospital and others who were only recalled very recently when it was discovered he had continued to carry out non-standard surgery.

The victims are worried that there may be other former patients still completely unaware of possible failings in their care.

Victoria Blankstone, a specialist medical lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “The women we represent underwent ‘cleavage sparing’ procedures as recently as 2010 which breached national guidelines. These were vulnerable patients diagnosed with breast cancer who placed their trust in someone they believed was an expert and underwent major surgery. For them to subsequently learn that their treatment was incorrect and that they would need further surgery to remove the excess breast tissue is appalling.

“It is time someone took responsibility for finding out just what went wrong and why.

“We want all relevant authorities including the CQC, Police and GMC to be involved in a Public Inquiry to provide answers for the victims and ensure that whatever systems failed to allow him to carry out these operations are indentified and improved immediately.

“All women who were treated by Mr Paterson need to be reviewed to check if they need any further medical treatment.

“There also needs to be an urgent review into exactly when the NHS Trust and private hospitals became aware of the substandard treatment and why Mr Paterson was allowed to continue to perform these types of operations even after he was told not to carry out this type of surgery in 2007.

“There are multiple, serious questions about exactly what went wrong over a 15 year period of serious systematic failings. We believe a number of hospital staff must have known what was happening.

“People across the country have been left shocked and appalled by the allegations against Mr Paterson and to restore faith in the NHS, all those involved must be held accountable and prove that vital steps have been taken to prevent anything similar from happening again.”