Ian Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon who was 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, was found guilty in April this year of 17 counts of wounding with intent. He was sentenced to jail for 20 years.
The Government are appalled by the actions of Ian Paterson and the harm that has affected a significant number of patients. The disclosures about the seriousness and extent of his malpractice are deeply and profoundly shocking.
The Government committed to ensuring lessons were learnt in the interest of patient protection and safety, both in the independent sector and the NHS.
Today, I am announcing the establishment of an independent, non-statutory inquiry into the circumstances and practices surrounding Ian Paterson that have affected so many patients. I have asked the Right Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich to chair the inquiry.
The inquiry should be informed by the victims of Paterson and families’ concerns, and seek to learn from their experience. Therefore, the inquiry will look at the local care and treatment for private patients in the Solihull area, and review current and past practices to establish if safeguards for patients treated at independent healthcare providers have fallen short of the standards the public have a right to expect. This will help to inform the broader lessons applicable to care provided by the independent healthcare sector across the country.
The inquiry is likely to consider issues including, but not limited to:
the responsibility for the quality of care in the independent sector; appraisal, revalidation and multi-disciplinary working in the independent sector;
information sharing, reporting of activity and raising concerns between the independent sector and the NHS;
and the role of insurers of independent sector providers (including sharing of data), and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the independent sector.
The inquiry will also draw on issues raised in previous relevant reports about Paterson.
It is not intended to revisit the evidence that we already have about Paterson and that led to his conviction.
The terms of reference and other arrangements relating to the inquiry will be published in due course after a period of engagement.
The inquiry will be formally established from January 2018 and will report in summer 2019.
I am confident that Bishop Graham will oversee a thorough and independent non-statutory inquiry and deliver his recommendations swiftly.