Private healthcare provider Spire has this week (04 March 2014) published a review into how it allowed rogue breast surgeon Mr Ian Paterson to continue to perform unnecessary operations on hundreds of patients unchecked since 1993.

In an ‘executive summary’ put on Spire’s website, Vertia Consulting draws together details of how Mr Paterson went unchallenged by Spire hospitals across the Midlands as he performed hundreds of unnecessary procedures on both men and women.

Commenting on the report, clinical negligence specialist Linda Millband said: “The conclusion albeit hidden in this report is that Spire have placed their business concerns to the fore and relegated patient safety and care to the sidelines.

“The factors which led to Mr Paterson operating unchecked and unchallenged at Spire hospitals aren't about local level failings, but serious governance issues at Spire Healthcare as a national organisation.

“Spire claims to have stringent quality control and compliance policies in place and yet, as we see evidenced in today’s report, red flags were ignored again and again.

“Spire says it takes policies which protect patient safety seriously, but the evidence says it failed time and time again to protect hundreds of people from becoming victims of Mr Paterson.”

Despite being told by the NHS Heart of England Trust in 2007 that Mr Paterson had been found performing cleavage sparing mastectomies at their hospitals, Spire did not make it widely known to its teams that Mr Paterson was under review, allowing him to continue unchecked.

Further concerns raised by a group of GPs in September 2008, following a series of ‘misleading’ pathology reports submitted by Mr Paterson, were also sidelined by the Spire management who, instead of responding with an independent review, asked Mr Paterson’s ‘closest associate’ to draft a ‘reassuring report’ so he could carry on.

“From our perspective, this report discloses a catalogue of errors. The management at Spire had sufficient cause to step in and suspend Mr Paterson in 2009; instead, they allowed him to continue unchecked until August 2012.

“Spire failed to tackle Paterson’s persistent and deliberate flouting of its own compliance procedures and fell far short of established national guidelines leaving their bank of consultants – Paterson included - free to regulate themselves to devastating effect,” continued Kashmir.

Defunct quality control measures and a complete absence of governance policies around multi- disciplinary teams (MDTs) also afforded Mr Paterson scope to exclude key professionals (critical to the analysis and diagnosis of patient pathology reports – such as radiologists and histopathologists) from MDT meetings or only include them in the development of ‘treatment plans’ once he had already performed breast surgeries on the patients in question.

Thompsons continues to act for over 261 people treated privately by Mr Paterson at Spire hospitals and others by the NHS Heart of England Trust. Mr Paterson remains subject to an ongoing police investigation accusing him of performing unnecessary or guideline breaching surgeries on men and women.

For further information and support, please contact 0800 0 224 224