The law firm representing hundreds of people who received unnecessary or inappropriate breast surgery under Ian Stuart Paterson is today calling on Spire Healthcare to mount an open inquiry into operations he conducted at their hospitals.

Thompsons Solicitors, which is acting for 371 women and men who were treated by the suspended surgeon, is concerned that the private health group has still not announced plans for an inquiry more than two months after Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust set up its own review under Sir Ian Kennedy.

Ian Stuart Paterson worked at a number of NHS and private hospitals from 1994, including Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which covers Good Hope, Solihull and Heartlands Hospitals, and Spire Parkway (Solihull) and Spire Little Aston.

He is currently under investigation by the General Medical Council and the police in relation to 700 cases of guideline-breaching ‘cleavage-sparing’ mastectomies and up to 450 cases of totally unnecessary surgery on cancer-free women and men.

Spire have yet to announce any inquiry or review

“Of the people we are representing, three out of four were treated at Spire Healthcare hospitals, yet Spire have yet to announce any inquiry or review” said Linda Millband, senior medical negligence solicitor at the firm.

“This is not just about the behaviour of an individual surgeon, it is also about systems operated by a major private sector provider. They need to look into how Mr Paterson was apparently able to carry on without apparently adequate accountability or control.

“The private hospitals were happy to take our clients’ money but don’t seem, so far, to be up for learning lessons about whether the systems they operated delivered proper treatment for those patients.

“There is a shocking apparent lack of regret or transparency from Spire Healthcare. It seems they are happy to let the NHS take the full force of public outrage while they weather the storm from the sidelines.

“Given the private sector is, under this government, gaining a significant foothold in the NHS it doesn't bode well for future transparency when things go wrong as they clearly did here.”

NHS patients operated on by Mr Paterson attended a meeting organised by Heart of England NHS Trust

Around 50 NHS patients operated on by Mr Paterson attended a meeting organised by Heart of England NHS Trust last week at which they were able to put their questions directly to Sir Ian Kennedy and were invited to write to him personally.

“The arrangements for the meeting were far from perfect – especially the decision to publicise it through press advertisements rather than personal letters - but Sir Ian’s willingness to meet those affected face to face is in stark contrast to the way Spire Healthcare has behaved,” said Linda Millband.

“We hope Spire Healthcare will announce plans for its own investigation immediately and will ensure that all those treated in their hospitals are given every opportunity to have their say.”

Thompsons would urge any women who have not yet come forward to do so now so that their voices may be heard.

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