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Victims of Ian Paterson blocked from full access to justice

It has been reported that a deal struck in 2017 prevents victims of breast surgeon Ian Paterson using the 40 law firms involved in the original compensation claims because they have been blocked from bringing further claims against Spire Healthcare for 20 years.

Posted on 11 April 2021

Patients who were victims of unnecessary and inappropriate surgery at the hands of convicted breast surgeon Ian Paterson are being blocked from full access to justice, it has been reported. The Independent has reported that a deal struck in 2017 prevents patients using the 40 law firms involved in the original compensation claims, as they have been blocked from bringing further claims against Spire Healthcare for 20 years.

Medical negligence solicitor Maria Panteli, who represents victims of Paterson but is not affected by the deal, called on Spire to disregard the agreement to allow patients to choose their legal representation based on experience and expertise.

One of the lawyers involved in the deal told The Independent that the agreement had been signed in good faith in the understanding that all victims would be recalled by Spire by October 2018.

Ian Paterson was jailed in May 2017 for 20 years after he was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding. This related to procedures carried out for no medically justifiable reason between 1997 and 2011. He practised in Parkway Hospital in Solihull and Little Aston Hospital which later became part of Spire Healthcare.

An independent inquiry undertaken by the Rt Rev Graham James and published in 2020 criticised Spire Healthcare for failing to contact all affected patients. This prompted Spire to launch a recall of 5,500 patients with independent clinicians reviewing their medical records. As a result, more and more patients are discovering that they have been victims of Paterson.

One new victim spoke to The Independent after discovering she had multiple unnecessary surgeries by Paterson 20 years ago. She told the newspaper that she felt she could trust him but that what he did to her was “dreadful”.

Maria Panteli, medical negligence solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, one of the firms not affected by the deal, said:

“We believe that all patients should have a full choice of law firms based on experience and expertise. Whilst we know these sorts of agreements exist with defendants, we believe that they limit how those injured access the justice they deserve.

“If the report is correct we would call on Spire Healthcare to disregard this agreement and allow those firms affected by it to bring claims, alongside Leigh Day, in the best interests of those injured by Paterson. Spire should be doing all it possibly can to support its former patients and to enable women to have free choice to instruct the law firm of their choosing.”

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Maria Panteli
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Maria Panteli

Specialist medical negligence claims lawyer with particular interest in missed cancer claims.

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