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Disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson's 750 victims will share new £37million compensation fund

  • Spire Healthcare to set up £27.2m compensation fund for Ian Paterson's victims
  • Rogue breast surgeon jailed this year for hundreds of 'needless operations'
  • The 59-year-old had jail sentence increased to 20 years on appeal last month 
  • NHS victims have already received £18m compensation from public purse 

Around 750 private patients treated by disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson will receive compensation from a new £37 million fund. 

Spire Healthcare has agreed to pay £27.2 million into the fund just weeks before it was due to be involved in a civil case involving around 750 patients.

Around £10 million will be provided by co-defendants in the case including Paterson's insurers. 

Paterson, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, was jailed for 15 years for carrying out needless operations on patients, leaving them scarred and disfigured.

His sentence was increased last month by the Court of Appeal to 20 years after justices ruled the initial jail term imposed in May was 'unduly lenient'. 

Spire Healthcare run private hospitals across the UK, including two in the West Midlands where Paterson worked and carried out the botched procedures between 1993 and 2012. 

Spire Healthcare has agreed to pay £27.2 million into a compensation fund for victims of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson, pictured
Paterson pictured at court

Spire Healthcare has agreed to pay £27.2 million into a compensation fund for victims of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson, pictured left before his trial and right at court

Paterson, 59, was convicted by a jury of offences of wounding with intent and unlawful wounding against 10 patients.

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.

'Even when Paterson was charged and then convicted earlier this year, Spire refused to countenance that they were responsible for his actions, despite his crimes taking place in their hospitals.

'As a result, his victims have faced a long wait not knowing whether they would be compensated for the pain he caused them.

'We are pleased that Spire has finally agreed to settle these cases and importantly, we hope this settlement will send a message to other private healthcare providers that patient safety must be their priority.

'It is now crucial that all of the weaknesses in the private sector management, which allowed Paterson to do what he did for so long, are addressed and overhauled to reassure the public that something like this can never happen again.' 

Spire Healthcare previously told Paterson's devastated victims it was not responsible for the botched breast operations the 'evil' consultant.

But today Simon Gordon, Interim Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement: '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.' 

Spire also said it was 'determined to learn the lessons from these events to ensure they can never happen again'.

The firm said it commissioned an independent report into Paterson's actions at the trust and had introduced a new governance process with a committee set up to oversee safety and monitor consultant activity.  

Hundreds of his NHS victims have already received around £18 million in compensation from the public purse. 

His trial heard evidence from nine women and one man who were treated in the private sector at Little Aston and Parkway Hospitals in the West Midlands between 1997 and 2011. 

Paterson left hundreds of victims 'scarred and disfigured' following 'needless operations' and was jailed for 20 years. Pictured are some of his victims arriving at court for his trial in May

Paterson left hundreds of victims 'scarred and disfigured' following 'needless operations' and was jailed for 20 years. Pictured are some of his victims arriving at court for his trial in May

At the May court case Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told Paterson: 'You deliberately played upon their worst fears, either by inventing or deliberately exaggerating the risk that they would develop cancer, and thereby gained their trust and confidence to consent to the surgical procedures which you carried out upon them.'  

But Solicitor General Robert Buckland argued that Paterson's offending was 'so serious and so exceptional' that a jail term 'significantly higher' than 15 years was required.

Mr Buckland said the surgeon's crimes had 'caused a very high degree of physical and psychological harm' to vulnerable patients.

Lady Justice Hallett said: 'Both the harm and culpability here were exceptionally high.'

She said the court was satisfied that the sentence imposed was 'unduly lenient', and that a 'just' term was one of a total of 20 years for 'multiple' offences. 

At the Court of Appeal hearing last month former patients Debbie Douglas and Tracey Smith wept and hugged as they heard the new at Ms Douglas's home in Birmingham. 

The new sentence means Paterson will not be eligible for parole until he has served half of the term, ten years, behind bars. 

He will serve the rest of the sentence on licence. 

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) refused to pay out compensation over Paterson's procedures because a clause in the surgeon's policy said he was not covered in the event of a criminal conviction.

The MDU – a mutual society – exists to help medics pay damages in the event of a claim for clinical negligence. 

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