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  1. ITV Report

Rogue breast surgeon patients warn others may have been missed

Ian Paterson Photo: PA

Cancer survivors wrongly operated on by the disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson are calling on his old employers to ensure that all former patients are contacted.

Health campaigners say they fear some may have been missed despite a number of reviews.

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

ITV News Central's Health Correspondent Stacey Foster covering the story of Ian Paterson Credit: ITV News Central

He had practicing privileges in the independent sector at both Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston in Birmingham, and was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent in April.

Paterson was jailed for 15 years, which was increased to 20 years on appeal after a judge ruled the original term "unduly lenient".

The campaigners say they fear the NHS and private breast treatment reviews carried out to date risk missing out Paterson's general surgery patients, who had operations such as gall bladder removal.

For me the big thing now is how many other people were affected. We want those facts - we want those figures.

– Deborah Douglas, Breast Friends support group
Ian Paterson worked at the private Spire Parkway hospital in the West Midlands. Credit: *

HEFT carried out reviews in 2013 and Spire in 2014, with the NHS hospital trust saying it had reviewed or cross-checked nearly 24,500 patient records, to assess if Paterson was involved in their care.

Both organisations have paid millions in damages to hundreds of affected cancer patients.

The disgraced surgeon has been jailed for 20 years. Credit: BPM Media

The Department of Health announced a broader independent inquiry into Paterson's malpractice and the wider lessons to be learned - but campaigners say this fell short of their choice of a public inquiry.

They say the independent inquiry has no powers to compel people to give evidence, and they say that means little chance of any new important information coming forward.

But they admit it could provide a "step forward" if the inquiry is able to reveal full statistics on patient numbers.

The NHS have got some figures now, they've got the mastectomy figures.

In the private sector we haven't got any figures, we haven't got the data for those patients that were involved. What we have got is a promise that we will have those figures. And that would be a step forward.

He was a general surgeon as well as a breast cancer surgeon. How many people out there, with wide local excisions, had recurrences and had secondary cancer?

– Deborah Douglas, Breast Friends support group

"To ensure that no patient has been missed in the review, the Trust looked at all patients who had a mastectomy procedure, both at Solihull and Good Hope Hospital, by all consultants."

– HEFT

" Spire Healthcare welcomes the announcement of the independent inquiry and is keen to participate in any way required."

– Spire spokesman

Spire and the NHS say they will fully co-operate with the new inquiry.

HEFT say the review was to ensure "all patients are given the most appropriate follow-up care".