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RCS calls for review of Ian Paterson case to prevent future malpractice

Surgeons have this week strongly condemned the actions of Ian Paterson and called for a review of his case to prevent more patients suffering under the scalpel of “rogue surgeons” in the future.

Breast surgeon Paterson was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week after being found guilty of carrying out hundreds of unnecessary operations on patients.

Following the Royal College of Surgeons’ (RCS’) call for more transparent private hospitals last month, the organisation has now stated that a full review of the Paterson case is needed to root out failings in the system and find out why the surgeon’s actions were not challenged earlier.

“No sentence, even as long as 15 years in prison, can ever fully reflect the pain and suffering experienced by the victims of Ian Paterson,” said Clare Marx, president of the RCS. “No hyperbole can be strong enough to condemn the wretched actions he undertook.”

Court sketch ian Paterson c. Elizabeth Cook PA Wire

Marx described Paterson as a “rogue” who was a disgrace to the medical profession for his disregard for patient care.

“We fully agree that the next government needs to launch an inquiry into Ian Paterson’s sordid actions,” she said. “We must understand why his appalling practice was not challenged sooner by his medical and managerial colleagues.

“In particular we need to fully examine whether the recommendations and findings of both the Ian Kennedy and the Verita reports have been fully acted upon. We welcome the secretary of state’s intention to commission a further inquiry.”

The RCS president was also quick to remind the public that Paterson was in no way symptomatic of a wider problem in the health service, and that it should not overshadow the good work done by the majority of surgeons in public and private healt care day in day out.

“Nevertheless, there is no room for complacency and there are actions that can still be taken to minimise future harm to patients,” Marx elaborated. “We must continue to promote a culture, both in the NHS and the private sector, where people feel able to raise concerns.

“It is clear from both the Kennedy and Verita reports that too often Paterson’s colleagues were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, despite his repeated lies. Patients’ concerns were sometimes brushed aside.

Questions also need to be raised about what more the private sector can do, Marx concluded: “It should be expected to report similar safety and quality data to the NHS to enable effective monitoring and transparency.”

Top Image: Ian Paterson's victim Frances Perks outside Nottingham Crown Court, Joe Giddens PA Wire. Middle Image: court sketch of Paterson, Elizabeth Cook PA Wire

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