The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing to determine convicted breast surgeon Ian Paterson’s fitness to practice will convene on 24 July 2017. The GMC referred the doctor to a Medical Practitioners Tribunal after the criminal proceedings concluded, as is normal practice.
Paterson carried out unnecessary operations and was jailed in May this year after being found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three of unlawful wounding. It is widely expected that he will be struck off.
Charlie Massey, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GMC said immediately after Paterson’s conviction:
‘The crimes which Ian Paterson committed were deeply shocking acts that betrayed patients’ trust. As soon as we were made aware of these issues we took action to curb his practice and then suspend him, but his practice went unchecked for so long because some of those in the health system – managers but also his colleagues – had their concerns but failed to report them to us. We will now continue with the fitness to practice process as swiftly as possible.’
Members of Shoosmiths medical negligence team will attend the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing to observe proceedings. In a recent development The Attorney General's office revealed that Paterson’s 15 year sentence had been referred under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme and is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal 10 days after the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing gives its ruling on 3 August 2017.
The Court of Appeal can decide to uphold the existing sentence, increase it, or issue guidance for future cases.
Lesley Cuthbert, a client of Shoosmiths who elected for private treatment rather than the NHS on Paterson’s misleading advice, expressed her dissatisfaction with the original sentence:
‘I really think he should have got life for all those he mistreated, especially those who, as a result of what he did, lost their lives. The only comfort is that, without Kashmir Uppal’s persistence and all the hard work by her team, Paterson’s crimes may never have come to light, so at least he is now prevented from doing any more harm.'
Kashmir Uppal, a specialist medical negligence solicitor, has been instrumental in pursuing claims on behalf of those injured by Paterson since 2010, when she was first instructed to act on behalf of one of his former patients. She has been the lead solicitor in the Paterson case before she joined Shoosmiths as a medical negligence partner and continues to represent women treated by Paterson in the private health sector. In response to the announcement that Mr Paterson sentence was to be reviewed she said:
'Lesley and some of our other clients were disappointed with the sentence but understand that 15 years was at the upper end of the sentencing guidelines that the judge had to follow. Mr Paterson was a surgeon of some seniority who carried out unnecessary operations on so many patients over a long period of time and he was found guilty of very, very serious charges. If the Court of Appeal impose a more severe sentence, this will send a very strong warning to other potential rogue doctors'.
The civil claims on behalf of women Paterson treated on the NHS have largely been settled because the Trust admitted fault early on and acted in a more cooperative manner to work towards a quicker resolution.
Shoosmiths continues to fight claims by those treated by Paterson in the private sector which are still outstanding because Spire maintain that he was not their employee and therefore they are not liable.
Kashmir and Lesley will take part in a series of radio and TV interviews on July 24 2017 and can be seen live on the sofas of Sky News Sunrise on Monday morning at 7.15am.