Birmingham & Black Country

Ian Paterson breast op women in Solihull hospital protest

Protesters outside Spire Parkway Hospital
Image caption About 40 ex-patients and some of their partners protested outside Spire Parkway Hospital

Women given unnecessary or incomplete breast operations by a surgeon at two private hospitals have protested about delays in receiving compensation.

The protesters at Spire Parkway Hospital, Solihull, are "disgusted" at the "slow reaction to their cases", a legal representative said.

They were among some 700 women treated by Dr Ian Paterson from 1993 to 2012.

Spire Healthcare said Mr Paterson was "personally liable" for private claims but it had settled some cases.

"Unlike in the NHS, Mr Paterson was not and has never been an employee of Spire Healthcare. As is industry standard, he practised as an independent practitioner under the grant of practising privileges at Spire's hospitals," its statement said.

It said ill health meant he currently lacked capacity to instruct lawyers, which had resulted in delays in litigation.

However, it added: "Despite that obstacle, wherever possible, Spire has entered into discussions with lawyers acting for patients in the private claims and has settled some cases.

"Furthermore, lawyers acting for all parties are actively exploring dates to return to the negotiation table to discuss the cases that are outstanding."

Mr Paterson, who was suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2012, carried out "cleavage sparing" mastectomies at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, in Sutton Coldfield.

The GMC said the procedure, which left a small amount of tissue for cosmetic reasons, breached national guidelines because it risked the return of cancer.

He also carried out the procedure at Solihull Hospital, run by Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which has been settling damages from NHS patients.

'Something sinister'

However, women treated at the two private hospitals say claims are taking too long.

Image caption Ian Paterson was suspended by the General Medical Council in 2012

Protester Frances Perks said she was given an unnecessary mastectomy and several other operations by Mr Paterson who treated her for 17 years.

Ms Perks said her mother and sister died from breast cancer and he repeatedly told her she was "high risk" but subsequent genetic testing found this was not the case.

"He always found these lumps and would say there is something sinister there," she said.

'Drew blind eye'

Ms Perks said she just wanted the claims to be settled.

"I just want it all wrapped up so I can get on with my life," she said. "I never thought I would be in this position and it has had a dreadful affect on me - physically, mentally and on my family," she said.

Ms Perks said Spire had a "duty of care" to patients operated on by Mr Paterson.

"We were private patients. You think that you are going to be looked after," she said.

Image caption Mr Paterson worked at the two private hospitals from 1993 until 2012

Kashmir Uppal, from Thompsons Solicitors - which is representing some patients - said it was pursuing claims against both Spire and Mr Paterson's insurers.

However, she said it was "unique situation" because Spire was made aware of concerns over Mr Paterson and the cleavage sparing procedure by the NHS trust.

A review commissioned by Spire had also identified "lost opportunities" to take action, she added.

"They drew a blind eye to it, they can't turn around now and say it is not their responsibility," she said.

"They allowed this surgeon to come onto to their premises to operate on patients who presented to their hospital. Their breast care nurses were employed by them, they knew what was going on."

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