Maimed pa­tients ‘will be at heart’ of in­quiry into jailed sur­geon Scope of ma­jor in­de­pen­dent probe into health scan­dal that rocked West Mid­lands is re­vealed

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Ali­son Stacey Health Cor­re­spon­dent

THE vic­tims of con­victed ‘butcher’ sur­geon Ian Pater­son will be ‘at the heart’ of the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into his prac­tice, of­fi­cials have pledged.

The dis­graced breast sur­geon, who was jailed last year, car­ried out hun­dreds of botched pro­ce­dures and un­nec­es­sary op­er­a­tions, with count­less pa­tients falsely be­liev­ing they had can­cer.

Pater­son, who worked at Soli­hull Hos­pi­tal and at the pri­vately-run Spire hos­pi­tals in Lit­tle As­ton and Soli­hull, was con­victed of 17 counts of wound­ing with in­tent and three counts of un­law­ful wound­ing.

More than 670 of around 1,200 of his for­mer NHS pa­tients who un­der­went mas­tec­tomies have now died.

Now the in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into his mal­prac­tice have pub­lished the terms of ref­er­ence, which sets out the scope of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The team, headed by the Right Rev­erend Gra­ham James, Bishop of Nor­folk, have met with more than 150 for­mer pa­tients face to face since it launched in Jan­uary.

Mr James said: “The in­ter­ests of all pa­tients, whether they are treated in the NHS or the pri­vate sec­tor, should be at the heart of this in­quiry. I thank ev­ery­one who has shared the is­sues they would like the in­quiry to con­sider in fi­nal­is­ing the com­plete terms of ref­er­ence.”

The in­quiry team said the main fo­cus of their re­port will be to al­low for­mer pa­tients and their fam­i­lies to have their voices heard.

It will also con­sider and com­pare ac­count­abil­ity and re­spon­si­bil­ity of safety and qual­ity of care in both the NHS and pri­vate sec­tor, and how in­for­ma­tion is shared between the two.

It will also look at the role of pri­vate in­sur­ers and med­i­cal in­dem­nity cover for health­care pro­fes­sion­als.

Pre­vi­ously, Pater­son’s in­sur­ance com­pany re­fused to pay out com­pen­sa­tion to pri­vate pa­tients as it claimed his op­er­a­tions were not cov­ered by the terms of in­sur­ance.

Us­ing Pater­son as a case study, the in­quiry will also re­view the ad­e­quacy of sys­tems in re­spond­ing to in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the re­call of pa­tients.

The in­quiry ex­pected to make its re­port to the Sec­re­tary of State f o r is Health by sum­mer 2019, which will in­clude its con­clu­sions and rec­om­men­da­tions. The team also stated that if it was to come across any ev­i­dence of ‘col­lu­sion or other con­duct of con­cern’, this would be re­ported to the rel­e­vant em­ployer or even to the po­lice. The Bishop pre­vi­ously told the Post: “One or two peo­ple have said to me ‘Well it’s only one rogue prac­ti­tioner’. It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary that you can even say that when it’s been go­ing on for so many years, and so many peo­ple are af­fected. “What has hap­pened has caused pain and grief and an­guish and death on a huge and sig­nif­i­cant scale. We do some­thing about the cen­tral fig­ure but, of course, he wasn’t en­tirely iso­lated from ev­ery­one else. “We need to trea­sure the mem­o­ries of those who have died,” said the Mr James. “But we also need to make cer­tain that there is a restora­tion of trust and jus­tice – and those are the rea­sons be­hind this in­quiry.” To see the full terms of ref­er­ence go to www.pate r s o ni nqui r y . o r g . uk

> Ian Pater­son was con­victed of 17 counts of wound­ing with in­tent and three counts of un­law­ful wound­ing

> In­quiry head Right Rev­erend Gra­ham James

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