Victim of NI rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson tells of relief over payout deal
A victim of disgraced Northern Ireland breast surgeon Ian Paterson has told of her relief after learning she will receive compensation.
Around 750 private patients treated by Paterson - who grew up in Bangor - will get a payout from a newly agreed £37m fund.
Spire Healthcare, which runs private hospitals in the West Midlands where Paterson worked, will contribute £27.2m.
A further £10m will be provided by Paterson's insurers and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.
One of Paterson's victims says the news of the payout still doesn't feel real, but she is "happy" now the matter is almost settled. Former pub landlady Carole Johnson (65) underwent seven unnecessary operations on Paterson's advice between 2000 until he was suspended in 2012.
Mrs Johnson, from Sheldon in Birmingham, said: "I haven't got a clue how long it's going to take. I feel pleased that it's going to be settled, but until I've actually got it, then I don't know how I'm going to feel.
"It's been going on for so long now but I do think 'That's another hurdle that we're over'."
She added: "I feel happy that we've got an ending. But until it's been completed, I suppose that will be when it's for real."
One of Mrs Johnson's operations was so rushed that Paterson did not leave any record of it on the hospital's systems.
"It's still not real that he did it. There was no need to have those surgeries done," she said.
"It's devastating. As a victim you can't have any trust in the medical profession again.
"It's a terrible feeling, to be honest."
Paterson was found guilty in April at Nottingham Crown Court of 17 counts of wounding with intent, and three further wounding charges.
Mrs Johnson was one of the sample of 10 victims that Paterson was prosecuted for.
He was initially sentenced to 15 years in jail but this was increased to 20 in August after Court of Appeal judges ruled the original sentence was too lenient.
The announcement of the new fund is intended to halt further legal proceedings by private patients and account for any new claims made before October 2018.
More than 500 of Paterson's private patients had been due to take their case to the High Court next month.
During the trial it emerged that Paterson, who treated thousands of patients during his career, exaggerated or invented cancer risks and claimed payments for more expensive procedures.
He also carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on NHS patients.
The NHS has so far paid more than £17m in compensation and costs for victims.
Figures from NHS Resolution show that as of July 31, it had received 277 claims involving Paterson's NHS practice and paid a total of £17,411,639 on those.
The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust was also part of the civil action after accusations it failed to notify Spire of Paterson's questionable and dangerous practices, discovered years earlier.
Paterson's trial heard from nine women and one man who were treated in the private sector at Little Aston and Parkway Hospitals in the West Midlands between 1997 and 2011.
Victims said Paterson's crimes had left them suffering constant pain and hundreds claimed they no longer trusted doctors because of their experiences.