Legal Experts Urge Recommendations Implemented To Improve Patient Safety
Specialist lawyers representing the victims of disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson have welcomed calls to recall all his patients for an assessment of their care.
A long-awaited report into the conduct of Paterson has today been published, uncovering a healthcare system “dysfunctional at almost every level”.
A culture of “avoidance and denial” allowed Paterson to carry out unnecessary and botched operations of hundreds of patients in NHS and private hospitals, the report found.
The surgeon was jailed for 20 years in 2017 with Irwin Mitchell securing settlements for dozens of those affected by the scandal. A total of £37 million was set aside for private patients with further settlements agreed for NHS patients
It is believed around 700 patients are affected.
The Paterson Inquiry, launched in May 2018, published 15 recommendations today after hearing 181 first-hand accounts from the surgeon’s former patients.
The NHS Trust which employed Paterson and private health firm Spire Healthcare - which runs Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull where Paterson also worked – have been urged to check all patients had been recalled.
Inquiry chairman the Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, also called for the government to introduce reforms, including regulation of insurance protection for patients as a “nationwide safety net.”
A single place where patients can access and easily understand key performance data of consultants should also be created.
Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed today’s findings, urging its recommendations should be implemented as soon as possible.
Expert Opinion“We had hoped that Paterson would be a one off but sadly we continue to see concerns surrounding the actions of some surgeons, particularly in private hospitals.
“Patient safety should be the fundamental priority in all surgery. We are deeply concerned by the report’s findings in particular that these issues were apparently allowed to manifest themselves for years because of a culture of avoidance and denial.
“While sadly it’s too late for the hundreds of people whose lives have been devastated by Paterson, the report findings are a clear indication that things have to change.
“It is now vital that these are more than recommendations. We call on all healthcare providers to ensure they take action to implement these findings and help improve patient safety as well as help patients make informed decision about their care.” Laura Daly - Senior Associate Solicitor
Paterson exaggerated or invented cancer risks and claimed payments for more expensive procedures.
The consultant breast surgeon was employed by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust but had practising privileges in the independent sector at both Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston in Birmingham.
The scope of the inquiry team’s investigation allowed it to refer individuals it considered to have committed a “disciplinary or criminal offence” to the relevant authorities.
The report today also revealed that five health professionals have been referred to either the General Medical Council or Nursing and Midwifery Council fir further investigation.
Another case has been referred to West Midlands Police.
To find out more about our expertise in supporting patients affected by surgery failings visit our medical negligence section. To speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.