Victims can still sue Ian Paterson

Victims can still sue Ian Paterson

Ian Patterson jailed

In 2017, breast Surgeon, Ian Paterson was jailed for wounding with intent. He had treated thousands of patients in his 14-year career in both the NHS and with private hospital chain, Spire Healthcare.

Paterson was found guilty of seventeen charges against nine women and one man. These ten victims represented only a small proportion of all Paterson’s alleged victims.

His victims fell into the majority of two groups;

  • those who underwent removal of their breasts despite having no signs of breast cancer,
  • and those on whom he performed “cleavage sparing mastectomies”. This was his own novel technique, removing just enough cancerous breast tissue. However, it left patients at high risk of their cancer spreading or returning.

Independent inquiry and patient recall

The Court of Appeal handed him a 20-year sentence in August 2017. Then in the December of that same year, the Government ordered an Independent Inquiry into Paterson’s practice. Their aim was to make recommendations to improve patient safety.

Spire Healthcare told the Government inquiry that they had already “let them [Paterson’s patients] know what had happened and to assess if their treatment had been correct.” This recall was completed by Spire Healthcare by January 2015[i], yet in the Summer of 2018, a number of patients came forward stating they had never been recalled.

After receiving severe criticism under the Inquiry, Spire reached out to a further 5,500 patients as part of a secondary recall.

2017 Settlement deal

At the same time, a group of about 40 law firms were working with victims to bring claims in clinical negligence against Spire Healthcare for the injuries they suffered under Paterson’s care. Those cases settled in 2017 under a £37m deal.

As part of that deal, it now appears that those lawyers agreed not to bring any further cases against Spire Healthcare for the victims of Ian Paterson for a period of 20 years.

This is an unusual agreement in clinical negligence claims, particularly as these victims were being treated for breast cancer; a slow growing disease that can take many years to recur.

Recent Press reports suggest that this agreement means that new victims are not able to bring further cases against Spire Healthcare, or that their access to justice is diminished. This is not quite accurate. The only restriction is in the choice of law firm, because some firms reached an agreement with Spire not to sue them again.

New negligence cases against Ian Paterson

If you were a patient of Ian Paterson, do not worry, you can still claim against Spire Healthcare. It is just that some law firms agreed with Spire that they will not act for patients in your position.

There remain many expert medical negligence firms who are willing and able to act for you in a claim against Spire.

Pryers Solicitors can help you sue Ian Paterson

Pryers Solicitors, did not agree to the 2017 settlement agreement. We have considerable experience in both breast cancer claims and wrongful surgery claims. So, if Spire recall you, now or in the future, contact us and we will be happy to assist you with your case.

All cases in medical negligence start from scratch each time, even if the Defendant remains the same. We are well aware of Paterson’s actions and the negligent treatments he adopted.

[i]Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson- February 2020, page 152

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