Police investigate cancer surgeon over 'botched' operations
Police are investigating a surgeon who allegedly carried out botched or unnecessary breast cancer operations at hospitals in the West Midlands.
A group of about 90 women are taking legal action against the Heart of England NHS Trust and Spire Healthcare.
Surgeon Ian Paterson carried out the procedures between 1994 and 2011, some of which were found to breach guidelines.
Mr Paterson has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC).
West Midlands Police said it was meeting with the Crown Prosecution Service on Thursday.
In a statement issued on his behalf, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) said he was co-operating fully with the GMC investigation.'Cleavage sparing'
A spokeswoman said: "He cannot comment further due to his duty of patient confidentiality and the ongoing investigation."
Det Ch Insp Matt Markham, from West Midlands Police, said: "Police can confirm it has received a referral from the GMC in relation to allegations about the medical practices of a surgeon who previously worked in Solihull.
"A criminal inquiry has been launched and the force is working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to determine the course of the investigation."
Mr Paterson is accused of performing "cleavage sparing" mastectomies at Solihull Hospital and two private hospitals owned by Spire Healthcare in Solihull and Little Aston, Staffordshire.
He was told to stop performing the surgery by the Heart of England NHS Trust in 2007.
It found that the procedure, which left a small amount of tissue for cosmetic reasons, breached national guidelines because of the risk of the cancer returning.
Mr Paterson is also being investigated by the GMC over claims he may have also unnecessarily removed lumps from patients' breasts.
Thompsons Solicitors, which is representing the women, said it had already settled one claim for compensation from the NHS Trust.
Aresh Anwar, medical director for Heart of England Foundation Trust, said Mr Paterson had not carried out any procedures at the hospital since May 2011.
Spire Healthcare said it was continuing to investigate the practice of Mr Paterson in conjunction with the GMC and the NHS Trust.