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Government urged to quicken health reform pace a year after rogue surgeon report

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The Government has been urged by the victims of a rogue breast surgeon to step up implementation of key healthcare reform recommendations.

Ian Paterson is currently serving a 20-year-prison sentence after being found guilty of wounding patients by carrying out unnecessary surgery on men and women.

He subjected more than a 1,000 patients to risky procedures which they did not need.

…we’re still at threat of having another Paterson

The surgeon carried out unapproved “cleavage-sparing” mastectomies on patients leaving behind breast tissue and risking a return of cancer.

He carried out breast and general surgery, treating more than 11,000 patients in total.

Paterson was employed by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) – since taken over by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust (UHB) – but also had practising privileges in the independent sector at Spire Parkway, Solihull, and Spire Little Aston in Birmingham.

The independent Paterson Inquiry into the issues raised, published in February 2020, found that many of Glasgow-born Paterson’s patients were “lied to, deceived or exploited”, though the consultant maintains his innocence.

Ian Paterson inquiry / PA Archive

The inquiry led by Right Reverend Graham James, ex-bishop of Norwich, made 15 recommendations.

More than 13 months after the first anniversary of publication of the panel’s findings, Health Minister Nadine Dorries said five of those recommendations had been actioned by the NHS, private health provider Spire, and professional bodies.

She said the Government would respond to the remaining recommendations “during 2021”.

Victims of Paterson welcomed the update, but said the Government needed to get on with implementing all the report’s recommendations “to ensure safety and proper governance” for patients, in the NHS and private health sector.

Ian Paterson inquiry / PA Archive

Deborah Douglas, of Solihull Breast Friends, said without full implementation patient safety would remain “compromised”.

She said: “As far as patient safety and proper governance of healthcare providers goes, we’re still at threat of having another Paterson.

“I welcome the robust recall of patients, which was long overdue, but the rest of the recommendations around patient safety, need urgently to be built in.

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