PATERSON victim Sarah Jane Downing has been a key figure in supporting and bringing together his many victims.
She spoke to Observer editor Chris Willmott as news of his sentencing came through last week.
Now, one week on, she has provided us with further words reflecting on his crimes, his victims, the sentencing and the way forward for those victims and to ensure such atrocities are never allowed to happen again:
“There isn’t a sentence on the statute book that would adequately reflect all of Ian Paterson’s crimes.
“You could say life, because his withholding of lifesaving treatment to instead impose his own wrongful surgeries has caused hundreds of unnecessary deaths.
“You could say life because he has condemned so many others to lose theirs before their time.
“But how can you truly measure the utter destruction that he has caused to the thousands of people who were led to trust him as a bone fide expert provided by the NHS Trust and through Spire Healthcare who deliberately cut us up for cash.
“Whilst he will still be left with time to rebuild his life, many of my group have no time left at all.
“There are people who could not be here today because they are still enduring surgery after surgery to try to resolve the butchery Paterson performed upon them; and there are people who cannot be here today because their cancer is ongoing and they have discovered new lesions of secondary cancer.
“This is the reality for the people he deliberately targeted to victimise.
“For more than 15 years the management at Heart of England NHS Trust and Spire Healthcare turned a blind eye to his atrocities.
“They colluded with him, they covered up for him, they quashed any disciplinary action against him.
“For more than 15 years the management at Spire Healthcare did all this and they protected him as their greatest revenue stream without a single question about why he was cutting chunks out of healthy women.
“Whilst it is good to know that Jeremy Hunt may grant us a public inquiry, I fear that if the timescale is as protracted as it has been in many other cases, there will be many in my group who simply will not live long enough to see it concluded.
“We cannot let this happen. So for them, and for everyone else who has died during the five years we have been fighting for justice, we must move forward now.
“We may no longer have our health, we may no longer have peace of mind or financial security, but what we do have is a wealth of information about what went wrong and why the system has been allowed to fail us.
“So in honour of all of those who no longer have a voice, and in honour of all those who need to use what little time they have left wisely, we shall use the horrific lessons we have learned to inform what I hope will become a new set of guidelines to be enforced to properly regulate a new system of private healthcare that puts helping patients above profiting from them.
“I have been in touch with AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents), the Care Quality Commission, the CHPI (Centre for Health and the Public Interest), the Royal College of Surgeons and the GMC asking them to work with us so that we can use our horrific experiences to inform a set of plans and guidelines that I hope we will be able to put in place to ensure that no one else will be betrayed and abused in the same way.
“I have founded a support group for those former patients of Ian Paterson who have been harmed by his crimes as I have.
Please feel free to email me at [email protected] or contact me via Facebook SarahJane Downing https://www.facebook.com/people/SarahJane-Downing/100009213998440 so that I can give you updates and invitations to my events
“I have also started a petition to try to change the laws governing the private healthcare sector to make sure that this abuse can never happen again.
“Please see the www.change.org petition by Sarah Jane Downing ‘Close Legal Loophole which allows Patients NO Protection against Negligent Surgeons’ which petitions UK Government Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, the Department of Health, the GMC the CQC – www.change.org/p/uk-government-secretary-of-state-for-health-jeremy-hunt-the-department-of-health-the-gmc-the-cqc-close-legal-loophole-which-allows-patients-no-protection-against-negligent-surgeons?recruiter=21541499&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink