Kennedy Review Into Breast Surgeon Ian Paterson Reveals Culture Of Secrecy

Expert Lawyers Say Concerns Remain As At Least Half Of Clients Had No Correspondence From Trust


Expert medical negligence lawyers have welcomed the findings of an independent review into the work of Birmingham breast surgeon Ian Paterson being made public, but say the woman affected have had to wait too long for answers about why there were such failings in their care.

The Solihull Hospital Kennedy Breast Care Review, led by lawyer Sir Ian Kennedy, which was made public today (19 December) revealed Mr Paterson was allowed to carry on operating on women for several years despite a series of concerns raised about him by other medical staff.

Sir Ian Kennedy found features of the system which contributed to what happened included: the role of the Board; the approach and way of working of the Executive; the culture of the Trust; the ability to voice concerns and be heard; the level of communication within the Trust and between the Trust and others; the role of confidentiality and the place of the patient’s perspective.

Despite Sir Ian Kennedy noting Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust implementing a full recall in 2011, medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell say they remain concerned as they have been contacted by woman as recently as last month who have received no communication from the Trust or Spire Healthcare where Mr Paterson worked.

The firm, which is acting on behalf of numerous women who received substandard treatment by Mr Paterson up to 2010, say half of their clients have received no correspondence from the Trust and only learnt of the scandal through media reports or word of mouth.

Negligence lawyers say they are also disappointed that the review has not provided answers about how it was possible for one of the clients to undergo the controversial cleavage sparing mastectomy (CSM) by Ian Paterson in 2010 – two years after the Trust had told him to stop performing the unregulated procedure.

The Trust announced last year that up to 1,000 women under the care of Mr Paterson may have had unregulated CSMs or unnecessary surgery dating back to 1996, while he worked at Solihull Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, and two private facilities run by Spire Healthcare.

It has been revealed the Trust reviewed Mr Paterson’s practices after concerns were raised in both 2004 and 2007 and following the investigations in 2007, Ian Paterson assured he would carry out no further CSMs.

Mr Paterson has been suspended from practice and the General Medical Council (GMC) is currently investigating, along with the Police.

Victoria Blankstone is a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office who has settled a number of cases and is continuing to work on behalf of further clients

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to surgery claims