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Further 1,500 patients of breast surgeon Ian Paterson to be recalled

Around 1,500 more patients of convicted breast surgeon Ian Paterson will be recalled so their treatment can be investigated.

Spire Healthcare, which runs private hospitals, said the patients were being called back after a trawl of legacy IT systems.

Paterson was jailed for 20 years in 2017 for 17 counts of wounding people with intent.

He subjected more than 1,000 patients to unnecessary and damaging operations over 14 years, with a 2020 independent inquiry ruling he was free to perform harmful surgery in NHS and private hospitals because of “a culture of avoidance and denial” in a “dysfunctional” healthcare system where there was “wilful blindness” to his behaviour.

The inquiry said all 11,000 patients Paterson treated should be recalled for review.

Between 1997 and 2011, Paterson is known to have treated thousands of patients at Spire Parkway hospital and Spire Little Aston hospital in the West Midlands.

This was alongside his work at NHS hospitals run by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

A statement from Spire said: “Having contacted 5,500 patients of Ian Paterson over the past two years to check that their care has been reviewed, Spire Healthcare is contacting a further group of Paterson patients.”

It said further checks were carried out to be “certain that there were no outstanding patients who might require support, dating back to the earliest years of his practice”.

It said: “To do this, (Spire) revisited historic legacy IT systems, in use between 1993 and the early 2000s, containing information about patients from over 20 years ago which had been thought to be inaccessible.

“However, following a further complex analysis of these legacy systems, Spire was able to identify the details of around 1,500 patients.

“These patients will now be contacted by Spire Healthcare and, where appropriate, offered a review of the treatment they received by Paterson over 20 years ago and support.”

Dr Cathy Cale, Spire’s group medical director, said: “Over the past couple of years, we’ve been absolutely committed to identifying, tracking down and contacting all living patients of Ian Paterson, regardless of when they were treated.

“We are very sorry for the significant distress and harm suffered by patients who were treated by Ian Paterson.

“We accepted the recommendations of the independent inquiry into Paterson in 2020 and are fully committed to implementing them.”

Linda Millband, head of clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, which has represented hundreds of Paterson’s clients, said: “We are years on from Paterson being exposed as a threat to people’s health and we are years on from him being convicted – yet here we have another patient recall by Spire Healthcare.

“The fact that 1,500 patients could have been missed off both previous recalls shows how extensively Spire enabled Paterson to practice.

“For patients who have suffered from his negligence and for those who have lost loved ones, this recall will bring back bitter memories. For those being alerted for the first time there will be shock and worry.

“You would have thought that after two recalls Spire would not have left any stone unturned, yet they missed at least 1,500 people due to a computer glitch. It begs the question – ‘what next’?”

Spire said anyone concerned about treatment from Paterson should call its freephone helpline on 0800 085 8130 or visit its website, spirehealthcare.com