The Government has today [7 December] announced an independent, Non-Statutory Inquiry into the medical negligence of Ian Paterson, the now jailed surgeon found guilty of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent while working at NHS and Spire hospitals. 

The Inquiry will be established in January 2018, chaired by the Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and aims to learn lessons about how healthcare can be improved across the country. The recommendations of the Inquiry are expected to be shared in summer 2019. 

Thompsons Solicitors, the lead law firm in the civil case against Ian Paterson who represented over 500 of his victims, are questioning the political commitment around the Inquiry. 

"There are steps we have called for that could, with political will, have been taken by now. We are calling for parity between private healthcare providers and the NHS so that private hospitals have to take the same responsibility for surgeons as the NHS and are required to adhere to the same high standards of governance and audits as the NHS."

Tom Jones
of Thompsons Solicitors

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “An Inquiry is welcome and speed, given current concerns around mesh usage in the private sector, is key. We wish the Inquiry well and will assist in any way that we can, however concerns we have expressed before remain. 

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case.  Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this Inquiry to ‘kick the can down the road’ and whose recommendations will not be binding. 

“There are steps we have called for that could, with political will, have been taken by now. We are calling for parity between private healthcare providers and the NHS so that private hospitals have to take the same responsibility for surgeons as the NHS and are required to adhere to the same high standards of governance and audits as the NHS. 

“For the sake of those whose lives have been devastated there needs to be real change and we will continue alongside our clients to campaign for that.”