Belfast Telegraph

Firm pays £27m to rogue NI surgeon's victims

By Eamon Sweeney

A private healthcare company that employed rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson has agreed to contribute £27m to a fund to compensate his victims.

Paterson, who grew up in Bangor, Co Down, was found guilty in April at Nottingham Crown Court of 17 counts of wounding with intent, and three further wounding charges. The former Bangor Grammar pupil was initially sentenced to 15 years in jail but this was upped to 20 in August after Court of Appeal judges ruled the sentence was too lenient.

The payout by Spire Healthcare, who Paterson worked for whilst he carried out hundreds of botched operations, centres on compensating 750 victims treated privately in the West Midlands.

Another £10m will be put into the fund by co-defendants in the case which will include Paterson's insurers. The NHS has already paid out £9.5m in damages and £8m in costs to hundreds of other people treated by Paterson.

During his trial it was revealed Paterson had massively exaggerated his patients' cancer symptoms which led to him performing unnecessary operations, leaving them physically and emotionally damaged.

More than 500 of Paterson's private patients had been due to take their case to the High Court next month.

Paterson's medical colleagues at Solihull Hospital raised concerns about him as far back as 2002 when it became clear that he was carrying out unregulated breast operations on cancer sufferers that in fact left them at a higher risk of the disease returning.

A statement from Simon Gordon, the interim chief executive of Spire Healthcare said that Paterson "behaved with clear criminal intent and abused the trust of those who looked to him for 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".

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