CAMPAIGNERS calling for action over controversial breast surgeon Ian Paterson have secured the support of Meriden MP Caroline Spelman, who has vowed to back an official probe by the Government to investigate the shamed doctor’s activities at Spire’s Parkway and Little Aston hospitals and Solihull Hospital.
Mrs Spelman attended the launch of a petition against Spire Healthcare in Knowle on Friday, in which his victims are calling for the hospital to ‘close the legal loophole’ which has left some private patients without protection or rights to claim compensation from the hospital as Paterson’s insurers, the Medical Defence Union, have withdrawn cover.
Paterson was suspended by the General Medical Council in November 2012, after carrying out hundreds of ‘cleavage sparing mastectomies’– leaving women at greater risk of cancer returning.
He also carried out countless operations, including full mastectomies, on women who didn’t even have cancer.
In a speech at the event Mrs Spelman said: “The situation with private patients has become unacceptably complicated with damaging delays to the complaints procedure, and there seems to be an unwillingness for anyone to want to admit responsibility.
“I am pleased to be able to offer my help and support to those affected by Mr Paterson.
“I will continue to do whatever I can to push for a resolution, including a new petition to present to parliament.
“This petition will enable those who have been directly affected by Mr Paterson, as well as those who feel strongly about the issue, to have their voices heard and, I also hope that as a result new measures will be adopted to ensure greater protection for patients in the future.”
The petition was launched at a Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning organised by one of Dr Paterson’s victims Sarah Jane Downing – herself an unwitting recipient of his negligent, potentially deadly and unapproved method of breast cancer surgery, which left his ‘patients’ at a much greater risk of their cancer returning.
The coffee morning saw many of his victims, their families and supporters of the fight against him, raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support as well as the launch of the petition, demading action and compensation from the private Sipre Hospitals group where Paterson worked.
Sarah Jane, an author from Solihull, had surgery with Paterson at Spire Parkway in Solihull in 1998 after finding a lump in her breast.
Sarah Jane said: “We are all devastated by what Mr Paterson did to us.
“Some of the women Mr Paterson operated on are now battling secondary cancer because he failed to remove all of the cancerous tissue and others, like myself, underwent unnecessary procedures and endured the worry of a cancer misdiagnosis.
“Spire continue to add to our suffering by denying any responsibility for what happened. I’m horrified by the way Spire has treated us.”
In a statement released to The Observer for our article in last week’s paper, Tony Yates – the Hospital Director of Spire Parkway Hospital – said: “Issues around Mr Paterson’s practice are highly complex and are on an unprecedented scale, extending to many hundreds of patients both in the NHS and at various private facilities, including Spire Parkway and Little Aston hospitals.
“In its eagerness to see resolution for patients of Mr Paterson, Spire has led the way in seeking from the Court a case management process which will secure an expedited trial of the complex and novel issues arising from his conduct.
“We have, with the agreement of all the other parties to the litigation, formulated a structure to bring an end the delays and uncertainly that are unacceptable to everyone involved.
“The Court has now set out a timetable for a process to establish responsibility and liability, and which we hope will fully involve Mr Paterson himself. This process will lead to compensation, where appropriate, being paid.
“However, what happened in our hospitals – and indeed elsewhere – should not have happened, and we continue to learn the lessons from it.
“I would take the opportunity to repeat the apology that Spire Healthcare has already given for the distress suffered by Mr Paterson’s patients treated in our hospitals.”