The Government has announced that an independent inquiry will be held to examine the circumstances and practices surrounding the malpractice of breast surgeon Ian Paterson.
The news has been welcomed by Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman, who has been working closely with a number of Mr Paterson’s former patients in order to secure a thorough public investigation.
The MP has been in an ongoing dialogue with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, about establishing an independent inquiry since charges were brought against Mr Paterson.
Paterson was a consultant breast surgeon employed by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) and had practising privileges in the independent sector at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston.
He was found guilty in April this year of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent. He was sentenced to jail for 20 years.
The inquiry will be informed by the victims of Paterson and their families, and is likely to consider:
- the responsibility for the quality of care in the independent sector
- appraisal and ensuring validation of staff in the independent sector
- the safety of multi-disciplinary working
- information sharing, reporting of activity and raising concerns between the independent sector and the NHS
- the role of insurers of independent sector healthcare providers (including how data it holds about the scope and volume of work carried out by doctors is shared with the sector)
- arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the independent sector
It will be chaired by the Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich.
Dame Caroline Spelman said, “I welcome the Government’s announcement that a full and independent inquiry will be established in January 2018.
“I am certain that under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Norwich, this inquiry will give Mr Paterson’s victims hope that lessons will be learned and will serve to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again”.
The Inquiry will be formally established from January 2018 and is expected to report in summer 2019. The terms of reference and other arrangements relating to how the Inquiry will be conducted – including the exact scope it will cover and how it will work within the system – will be announced at a future date.