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Bishop of Norwich to chair inquiry into disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson

PUBLISHED: 14:56 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:56 07 December 2017

Ian Paterson. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Ian Paterson. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Bishop of Norwich is to chair an independent national inquiry into disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson.

The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Picture: James Bass The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Picture: James Bass

The inquiry will focus on the circumstances and practices surrounding Paterson’s malpractice.

Paterson was a consultant breast surgeon, employed by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, who intentionally wounded his patients by exaggerating or inventing cancer risks and claimed payments for more expensive procedures.

Paterson, who had practising privileges in the independent sector at both Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston in Birmingham, was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent in April and jailed for 20 years.

The Rt Rev Graham James will oversee the inquiry, which had been pledged by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The initial scope of the investigation has been widened in recognition of their feedback that broader issues about care in the independent sector needed attention.

This includes whether any further action is needed to strengthen the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime in relation to the private sector.

Health minister Philip Dunne, said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes, and I am determined to make sure lessons are learnt from this so that it never happens again in the independent sector or the NHS.

“I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

“It will also draw on issues raised in previous reviews about Ian Paterson’s conduct, particularly Sir Ian Kennedy’s review on behalf of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and Verita’s investigation into the governance arrangements at two Spire Healthcare hospitals.

Bishop Graham said: “The actions of Ian Paterson and the grievous harm he inflicted on patients are deeply concerning, and they have given rise to some serious questions which remain unanswered.

“It is vital that the Inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives. The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this Inquiry and I will do my very best in the interest of those affected and the public.”

The inquiry will be formally established from January next year and it is expected to report in summer 2019.

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