Victims of jailed breast surgeon Ian Paterson to be paid £37m

Paterson was jailed for 20 years Credit: PA

Around 750 private patients treated by jailed breast surgeon Ian Paterson will receive compensation from a new £37 million fund.

The figure will be paid to the many victims of the rogue surgeon after they suffered needless operations and were left fearing for their lives after he exaggerated or invented cancer risks.

During his trial earlier in 2017, it emerged that Paterson, who treated thousands of patients during his career also claimed payments for more expensive procedures.

One patient described looking like a "car crash victim" after undergoing an unnecessary mastectomy, while another described a "significant deformity in her visible cleavage area" after a pair of needless operations on her left breast.

Victim Frances Perks, who had already lost her mother and sister to breast cancer before being referred to Paterson, told ITV News he should "rot in hell".

Paterson was jailed for 20 years after he was found guilty in April at Nottingham Crown Court of 17 counts of wounding with intent.

Jurors also convicted him of three further wounding charges after hearing 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 in constant pain and struggling to trust medical professionals.

The newly announced £37 million of compensation will be funded by £27.2 million from Spire Healthcare, which runs private hospitals in the West Midlands where Paterson worked, and £10 million from co-defendants in the case including Paterson's insurers.

The money 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.

Simon Gordon, interim chief executive at Spire, said: "Earlier this year a criminal court decided that Ian Paterson must bear responsibility for his actions, finding him guilty of assaulting a number of his patients.

"He behaved with clear criminal intent and abused the trust of those who looked to him for his care and relied upon his expertise.

"However, 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.

"We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Paterson's patients for their suffering and distress and we would like to repeat that apology."

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 are pleased that Spire has finally agreed to settle these cases and importantly, we hope this settlement will send a message to other private healthcare providers that patient safety must be their priority.

"It is now crucial that all of the weaknesses in the private sector management, which allowed Paterson to do what he did for so long, are addressed and overhauled to reassure the public that something like this can never happen again."

Many of Paterson's victims attended Nottingham Crown Court to hear him receive his guilty verdict. Credit: PA

The NHS has so far paid more than £17 million in compensation and costs for victims, after receiving 277 claims involving Paterson's NHS practice.

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.