REPRESENTATIVES of victims of convicted ‘butcher’ breast surgeon Ian Paterson have told the Observer a £37million payout offer today is ‘not good enough’.
Some 750 patients are claiming compensation from Spire Healthcare – which formerly ran Bupa hospitals in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield – where disgraced former consultant Ian Paterson worked when he ‘butchered and maimed’ patients. He also carried out operations on the NHS at the Heart of England Trust.
Today, the private healthcare provider offered to pay compensation of more than £27million.
Paterson and the Heart of England’s insurers have added an extra £10million to the funds, taking the total to some £37million.
The 59 year-old surgeon was jailed for 15 years in May, which was later extended on appeal to 20 years.
Despite the proposed payout, victims’ representative Kashmir Uppal of Access Legal – a lawyer who for years represented Paterson’s clients in seeking justice – said the money will not make up for the trauma experienced by hundreds of patients.
She told the Observer: “The claim was compromised because of mitigation reasons. In terms of this it is not good enough.
“Shire healthcare admitted they are liable which they should have done five years ago. There is a trial starting in October so if they were going to do something it had to be now.
“They could have saved these poor women a lot of heartache and financial hardship.
“This should send a message to other healthcare providers about the surgeons operating in their companies.
“Some of the patients have told me they are glad as this signals the whole saga is finally coming to an end.”
Spire Healthcare and the insurers have established the Ian Paterson Compensation Fund to deal with current and future claims. It will be managed by the lead solicitors for the claimants.
The fund will provide compensation to hundreds of patients bringing claims against the healthcare providers before October next year.
It is currently conditional upon the parties agreeing – which Ms Uppal believes they will – and the High Court’s approval.
Simon Gordon, interim chief executive officer at Spire Healthcare, said: “Earlier this year a criminal court decided that Ian Paterson must bear responsibility for his actions, finding him guilty of assaulting a number of his patients.
“He behaved with clear criminal intent and abused the trust of those who looked to him for his care and relied upon his expertise.
“However, whilst nothing diminishes Mr Paterson’s responsibility for his actions, these events took place in our hospitals, and this should not have happened.
“We accept that better clinical governance in the private hospitals where Mr Paterson practised, as well as in his NHS Trust, might have led to action being taken sooner, and it is right that we have made a material contribution to the settlement announced today.
“We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Paterson’s patients for their suffering and distress and we would like to repeat that apology. As soon as the criminal trial ended we were able to start liaising with claimants’ lawyers to broker a settlement involving all defendants. This has resulted in the agreement announced today.”
The healthcare provider said Paterson’s actions were ‘unprecedented’ and it is determined to learn from the events.
Thompsons Solicitors, which also represents some of Paterson’s patients – said: “We can confirm that a settlement has been reached but it needs to be approved by a court. We will share more details once the court has approved the order.”