In Brief

Paterson report: 11,000 women to be checked after ‘butchering’ surgery

Report into disgraced surgeon slams ‘culture of avoidance and denial’

More than 11,000 women treated by a surgeon jailed for performing botched and unnecessary operations will be called in to have their surgery assessed.

The checks follow a report that found a “culture of avoidance and denial” among medics allowed Ian Paterson to continue carrying out “needless” surgeries for a over a decade.

The independent inquiry into the case of Ian Paterson, who performed unnecessary and damaging surgery on thousands of his patients, has led to calls for an urgent review of private healthcare.

Paterson was jailed for 20 years in 2017 for wounding with intent, after he was found to have carried out needless breast cancer surgery on women who did not have the disease.

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The Times says the scale of Paterson’s abuse makes it “one of the worst scandals in the history of the NHS”, while the Daily Mail describes him as a “butchering breast surgeon”. The Sun reports that the case lays bare a “dysfunctional” healthcare system.

The chairman of the inquiry, the Right Rev Graham James, said Paterson’s crimes were “hiding in plain sight” as “wilful blindness” meant that colleagues and bosses made excuses for him.

James said it was impossible to be sure how many patients were abused by Paterson, who treated 4,424 people in the NHS and 6,617 at hospitals run by Spire Healthcare between 1997 and 2011. But, he added, it was likely to be a four-figure total.

The official report made 15 recommendations, including the creation of a database showing performance data for consultants across the NHS and private sectors. It also urged the government to introduce reforms, including regulation of insurance protection for patients as a “nationwide safety net”.

Presenting the 232-page report, James praised the victims for their courage in sharing their “harrowing” accounts. Patients were let down by the healthcare system “at every level”, he added.

One victim, Tracey Smith, said: “Paterson was claiming that there was some sort of cancer hotspot in Solihull. The only problem in Solihull was Ian Paterson.”

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