A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing (MPTS) held in Manchester on 24 and 25 July 2017, to determine convicted breast surgeon Ian Paterson’s fitness to practise has, decided to strike the surgeon off the medical register.
The role of the MPTS is to protect patients by making independent decisions about a doctor’s fitness to practise. It is fully independent of the General Medical Council (GMC) role as investigator.
There are 245,000 doctors, surgeons and medical professionals on the GMC-administered UK Medical Register. Where a doctor or surgeon is shown to be putting patients at risk, the GMC can restrict their practice or suspend them, for example while they re-train. Submissions made by the GMC at the hearing included that erasing Mr Paterson from the medical register was needed to protect the public.
In very serious cases, such as with Ian Paterson who was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and 3 of unlawful wounding, a doctor can be removed from the medical register altogether following a medical practitioners tribunal - often referred to as being ‘struck off’.
In its determination of the sanction, the tribunal concluded that the aggravating factors that it took into account included the following; ‘breach of patient and professional trust in a medical professional and the fact that the patients were vulnerable in the sense that, at the time of their consultations with Mr Paterson, they were concerned that they could have cancer.’
Sharon Banga, a member of the Shoosmiths medical negligence team who, alongside Kashmir Uppal, has pursued justice for Paterson’s NHS and private patients since 2010, attended the tribunal and commented:
‘The crimes which Ian Paterson committed were deeply shocking and completely betrayed his patient’s trust. Erasure from the medical register, meaning he can never again work in any medical capacity in the UK, was the right outcome. Together with the referral of his prison sentence under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal, this should act as a powerful deterrent against any similar potential rogue doctors and will help to improve patient safety and public confidence in the medical profession.’
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