Hundreds of potential victims of convicted breast surgeon Ian Paterson may still not have been identified after an independent inquiry found nearly a third of patients it spoke to had not been contacted.
Paterson is serving 20 years in jail after being convicted in 2017 of carrying out unnecessary surgery on hundreds of women over a period of more than 20 years.
An independent inquiry led by the former Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James found he was “hiding in plain sight” for years and allowed to harm hundreds of women because of a healthcare system that was “dysfunctional at almost every level”.
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It found between 1998 and 2011 more than 6,600 patients were treated at Spire Healthcare by Ian Paterson and more than 4,400 NHS patients. The report reveals he also carried out unnecessary surgery on children.
The Rt Rev James said: “These are very large numbers. Even now there are Paterson patients who have not been recalled and those treated in the private sector have not been given an ongoing care plan. The recall of patients must be completed and this failure remedied.”
Speaking to The Independent, the Rt Rev James said he was worried there were many more patients who had not been followed up, adding: “We don’t really know what the numbers are. But you only have to look at the numbers he had in total, it’s thousands.”
The report called on University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust and Spire Healthcare to check all Paterson patients have been recalled and demanded a new national framework for the recall of patients to be created.
The Rt Rev James said the testimony he had heard from patients was “harrowing” and many of them remained traumatised by what he described as “the wickedness” of Ian Patterson.
Publishing his report into the scandal today, the Rt Rev James said he had referred five doctors and nurses for investigation by the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council over their failures to take action which could have stopped Paterson sooner.
He also revealed he had asked West Midlands Police to investigate one complaint and described how managers had failed to act because of a “wilful blindness” and desire to seek reassurance in data.