NEWS that convicted breast surgeon Ian Paterson who ‘butchered’ victims with unnecessary operations could face longer in jail has been welcomed by victims’ representatives.
News of the review of his sentence by the Court of Appeal will be followed on Monday by the resumption of a General Medical Council tribunal.
It will assess his ‘fitness to practice’, after the hearing’s suspension during court proceedings which concluded in May. He is expected to be struck off.
The appeal will then be heard on August 3 after the Attorney General’s office revealed Paterson’s 15-year sentence had been referred under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.
Kashmir Uppal, a specialist medical negligence solicitor, now a partner at the Access Legal firm, has been instrumental in pursuing the claims of those injured by Paterson since 2010.
She said: “Some of our clients were disappointed with the sentence but understand that 15 years was at the upper end of the sentencing guidelines that the judge had to follow.
“Mr Paterson was a surgeon of some seniority who carried out unnecessary operations on so many patients over a long period of time and he was found guilty of very, very serious charges.
“If the Court of Appeal imposes a more severe sentence, this will send a very strong warning to other potential rogue doctors.”
Lesley Cuthbert, who elected for private treatment rather than the NHS on Paterson’s misleading advice, said of the original sentence: “I really think he should have got life for all those he mistreated, especially those who, as a result of what he did, lost their lives.
“The only comfort is that, without Kashmir Uppal’s persistence and all the hard work by her team, Paterson’s crimes may never have come to light, so at least he is now prevented from doing any more harm.”
Paterson carried out unnecessary operations and was jailed in May after being found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three of unlawful wounding.
Charlie Massey, chief executive and registrar of the GMC said after Paterson’s conviction: “The crimes which Ian Paterson committed were deeply shocking acts that betrayed patients’ trust.
“As soon as we were made aware of these issues we took action to curb his practice and then suspend him, but his practice went unchecked for so long because some of those in the health system – managers but also his colleagues – had their concerns but failed to report them to us.
“We will now continue with the fitness to practice process as swiftly as possible.”
Access Legal continues to fight claims by those treated by Paterson in the private sector – as opposed to his NHS work – which are still outstanding because Spire healthcare maintains he was not its employee and therefore it is not liable.