NEW VICTIMS of convicted breast surgeon, Ian Paterson, cannot call on solicitors who have previously been involved in the case.
According to Pryers Solicitors in 2017 a deal was struck between 40 law firms working with victims to bring clinical negligence claims against Spire Healthcare for the injuries they suffered under Paterson’s care.
The firm says the deal means those firms would not bring any further Paterson cases against Spire Healthcare for the next 20 years.
However this does not prevent a person who believes they have been a victim of Paterson to use an alternate firm.
In 2017, Paterson was sentenced to 20 years in jail after being convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding against ten patients.
The consultant breast surgeon, whose victims run into the hundreds, worked at hospitals run by the Heart of England NHS Trust (HEFT) and also practiced privately at Bupa hospitals in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, latterly run by Spire Healthcare.
Pryers Senior Solicitor, Tamlin Bolton, said: “This is an unusual agreement in clinical negligence claims, particularly as these victims were being treated for breast cancer, which is a slow growing disease that can take many years to recur.
“Recent press reports suggest this means that new victims’ access to justice is diminished.
“This is not accurate. The only restriction is in the choice of law firm because some firms reached an agreement with Spire not to sue them again.
“Pryers did not agree to this settlement agreement, and we remain committed to fighting on behalf of clients to ensure maximum compensation.
“All cases in medical negligence start from scratch each time, even if the Defendant remains the same. We are well aware of Paterson’s actions and the negligent treatments he adopted.”
Kashmir Uppal, of Shoosmiths LLP– who has represented Paterson’s clients in seeking justice – said: “The terms of the Order made in September 2017 included undertakings which bind the 40 Firms who previously acted for the victims.
“My understanding is that the terms were accepted on the basis that all further claims would be brought within the cut off period to the end of October 2018, and that no further recall was envisaged.
“The consequences of this is that the Solicitors who have all the specialist expertise in running these claims are not currently permitted to run them, which restricts the victims choice of solicitor and prevents them instructing Solicitors who have been involved in the cases from the outset and have a wealth of information and knowledge.”
A spokesperson from Spire said: “We are committed to providing ongoing support to the patients of Ian Paterson and are carefully following the recommendations as laid out by the independent inquiry last year.
“This has included writing to all living patients for whom we have records, to make sure that their care has been fully reviewed and that the outcome has been communicated.
“For those that require it, we will ensure they get the additional support and care that they need. Furthermore, we are aware there may be patients who wish to seek legal advice in relation to their treatment.
“We are actively reviewing how best to resolve any issues relating to accessing legal advice arising from the settlement in 2017.”