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Jailed surgeon’s misconduct ‘at highest level’, panel told

Ian Paterson is serving a prison sentence for carrying out needless breast operations.

A surgeon jailed for 15 years for carrying out a raft of needless breast operations had betrayed the best interests of his patients, a medical tribunal has heard.

Ian Paterson, 59, was imprisoned in May after he was convicted by a jury of offences of wounding with intent and unlawful wounding against 10 patients.

His trial at Nottingham Crown Court heard harrowing evidence from the nine women and one man who were treated in the private sector between 1997 and 2011 at Little Aston and Parkway hospitals in the West Midlands.

On Monday, the General Medical Council (GMC) argued that Paterson’s fitness to practise was impaired because of his convictions.

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Ian Paterson received a 15-year sentence (Joe Giddens/PA)

Paterson did not attend the Medical Practitioners Tribunal in Manchester and was not legally represented, although he was made aware of the proceedings by post to HMP Nottingham.

The tribunal heard that Paterson did not oppose the proceedings and had expressed a wish to be erased from the medical register without the need for a hearing.

Nigel Grundy, for the General Medical Council, told tribunal members: “It is our submission that the convictions and the circumstances surrounding them involve a flagrant disregard by Mr Paterson of the fundamental tenets of the medical profession.

“Not only do they represent the antithesis of the Hippocratic Oath, they represent the antithesis of the fundamental tenets of good medical practice.

“Mr Paterson’s conduct is a pattern of betrayal of his patients’ best interests over 14 years, acting, as it seems, out of arrogance.

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Victims arriving at Nottingham Crown Court (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Lying repeatedly to his patients, giving them the false impression of evidence of malignancy when there was none. Seeking to justify the need for invasive procedures when there was no justification. Showing no insight or empathy to his patients and the effect these procedures would have upon them both physically and psychologically, no doubt for the rest of their life.”

He added Paterson’s actions were aggravated by his lack of remorse.

He said: “He has given no apology to his victims. He has shown no remorse, on the contrary, he has adopted a position of indifference and arrogance.

“This is a serious case. In the spectrum of misbehaviour for a doctor it is at the very highest level.”

In 2012, more than 700 patients of Paterson’s were recalled after concerns about unnecessary or incomplete operations.

He was suspended by the General Medical Council that same year amid claims that he carried out so-called cleavage-sparing mastectomies (CSMs).

Before his suspension, in July 2011 Paterson also had interim conditions, which included a ban on him performing breast surgery, imposed by the GMC.

Paterson’s sentence has been referred to the Court of Appeal by the attorney general to assess whether the term of imprisonment was unduly lenient.

The GMC said it understood that Paterson, formerly of Altrincham, Cheshire, had made no appeal against conviction or sentence.

The tribunal will reconvene on Tuesday when a decision on impairment will be made before a likely further submission from the GMC on sanction, which is expected to argue that Paterson should be struck off.

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