Fund set up for patients of disgraced surgeon
AROUND 750 private patients treated by disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson will receive compensation from a new £37million fund.
Spire Healthcare, which runs private hospitals across the UK, will contribute £27.2m to the fund, which is intended to halt legal proceedings by patients against the group and account for any new claims.
Around £10m will be provided by co-defendants in the case including Paterson’s insurers.
Glasgow-born Paterson was jailed for 20 years after he was found guilty in April at Nottingham Crown Court of 17 counts of wounding with intent.
Jurors also convicted him of three further wounding charges.
More than 500 of Paterson’s private patients had been due to take their case to the High Court next month.
In its statement, Spire said the agreement was conditional on all parties agreeing, and the court approving, the terms of a formal court order.
It said the order “will conclude all current and known claims from patients against Spire Healthcare and its co-defendants, Ian Paterson and Heart of Eng- land NHS Foundation Trust”.
“The order will also provide for a portion of the fund to be set aside to provide compensation for any former patient of Mr Paterson who has not yet brought a legitimate claim against Spire Healthcare and the other defendants but does so prior to 30 October 2018.”
The agreement has been made in conjunction with Paterson’s insurers.
Simon Gordon, interim chief executive at Spire, said: “Earlier this year a criminal court decided that Ian Paterson must bear responsibility for his actions, finding him guilty of assaulting a number of his patients.
“He behaved with clear criminal intent and abused the trust of those who looked to him for his care and relied upon his expertise.
“However, whilst nothing diminishes Mr Paterson’s responsibility for his actions, these events took place in our hospitals, and this should not have happened.
“We accept that better clinical governance in the private hospitals where Mr Paterson practised, as well as in his NHS trust, might have led to action being taken sooner, and it is right that we have made a material contribution to the settlement announced today.
“We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Paterson’s patients for their suffering and distress and we would like to repeat that apology. As soon as the criminal trial ended we were able to start liaising with claimants’ lawyers to broker a settlement involving all defendants. This has resulted in the agreement announced today.”
Emma Doughty, a specialist medical negligence lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which represents more than 100 of Paterson’s victims, said: “No financial settlement will ever heal the physical and mental scars inflicted on our clients but they are relieved that they have finally won their battle for justice.”
The NHS has so far paid more than £17m in compensation for victims after receiving 277 claims involving Paterson’s NHS practice.
Patients of Ian Paterson, inset, will receive compensation from the fund