Ian Paterson: Independent inquiry into breast surgeon

Ian PatersonImage copyright PA Image caption Ian Paterson is serving a 20-year sentence for wounding patients

An independent inquiry is to be held into the malpractice of breast surgeon Ian Paterson, who carried out hundreds of botched operations.

It will aim to learn lessons from the case and improve care, the Department of Health said.

Paterson was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent in April after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.He had his initial 15-year jail term increased to 20 years in August[1].

The inquiry will begin in January.

The DoH said the scope of the inquiry was likely to consider:

  • The responsibility for the quality of care in the independent sector
  • Information sharing, reporting of activity and raising concerns between the independent sector and the NHS
  • The role of insurers of independent sector healthcare providers, including how data it holds about the scope and volume of work carried out by doctors is shared with the sector

Health Minister Philip Dunne said:"Ian Paterson's malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes, and I am determined to make sure lessons are learnt from this."

Paterson, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, was jailed in May after an eight-week trial.

Image copyright Richard T Harris Image caption Paterson was found guilty of wounding patients at Spire private hospitals

The court heard from nine women and one man who were treated in the private sector at Little Aston and Parkway Hospitals, run by Spire Healthcare, in the West Midlands between 1997 and 2011.

His sentence was increased by Court of Appeal judges who found his initial sentence was unduly lenient.

One of Paterson's victims, James Fernihough, welcomed news of the inquiry, but said:"I think it's a bit late, it should have been looked into a long time ago."

Mr Fernihough, 43, of Wall Heath, West Midlands, who had three lumpectomies in 12 months but later learned the procedures were unnecessary[3], added:"This should never happen again."

The inquiry follows a pledge by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in which he committed to hold a "comprehensive and focused inquiry"[4].

It will be informed by the victims of Paterson and their families and chaired by the Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich....

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