Posted on 14/09/2017 by
Ian Paterson was jailed for 20 years after he was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent.
Hundreds of NHS patients who suffered at the hands of rogue cancer surgeon Ian Paterson will have been paid more in compensation for their trauma than his private patients, it has emerged.
Around 750 private patients operated on by the disgraced surgeon will receive a total of £37.2 million for the physical and psychological pain they suffered undergoing unnecessary treatment, it was announced yesterday.
Spire Healthcare, the hospital group where Paterson treated his private patients, will contribute £27.2 million to the fund, with most of the rest coming from his insurers.
Hundreds of patients treated by Paterson at Spire’s two West Midlands hospitals between 1993 and 2012 had been due to take their case to the High Court next month.
The settlement is intended to stop patients taking legal action against the group and deal with any new claims from former patients.
But it means that Paterson’s victims are having to accept less in compensation than their NHS counterparts, in order to avoid the potential risk of an even lower figure should the case have gone to trial.
Around 270 NHS patients received an average compensation payment of £62,815 each earlier this year, from a total settlement of £17.4m.
That compares to an average compensation payment of £49,600 for each of Paterson’s 750 private patients towards the long term costs of therapy and ongoing treatment.
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A source close to the solicitors representing Paterson’s private patients said: “The private patients will be getting a bit less than the NHS ones. They won’t be as fully compensated.
“It’s frustrating, but we have had to reduce our claim because we have had to take into account the litigation risk had it gone to trial.”
Irwin Mitchell solicitors, which represented more than 30 of his patients, said: “Many people wrongly believe they will be better protected under private care than under the NHS.
“While Spire in this case has set aside a significant sum, it is likely to be less than the amount that the patients affected need.”
Paterson was jailed for 20 years after he was found guilty in April at Nottingham Crown Court of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three further wounding charges.
Patients are angry it took Spire months to make their settlement offer.
The firm - the second largest provider of private healthcare in the UK, with an operating income of £108m last year - had argued until now that because it did not directly ‘employ’ the surgeon it should not be held responsible for his actions.
Paterson’s trial heard how he lied to his patients and exaggerated or invented the risk of cancer to convince them to go under the knife. He also claimed payments for more expensive procedures.
Emma Doughty, a specialist medical negligence lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which represents more than 100 of Paterson's victims, said: "No financial settlement will ever heal the physical and mental scars inflicted on our clients but they are relieved that they have finally won their battle for justice.
"Even when Paterson was charged and then convicted earlier this year, Spire refused to countenance that they were responsible for his actions, despite his crimes taking place in their hospitals.
"As a result, his victims have faced a long wait not knowing whether they would be compensated for the pain he caused them. We hope this settlement will send a message to other private healthcare providers that patient safety must be their priority."
As part of the settlement Spire Healthcare yesterday admitted it could have done more to stop the surgeon butchering hundreds of women for no reason other than personal profit.
Simon Gordon, interim chief executive at Spire, said: "Whilst nothing diminishes Mr Paterson's responsibility for his actions, these events took place in our hospitals, and this should not have happened.
"We accept that better clinical governance in the private hospitals where Mr Paterson practised, as well as in his NHS trust, might have led to action being taken sooner, and it is right that we have made a material contribution to the settlement announced today.”