Spire Healthcare has made an application to the court to allow new victims of convicted W Midlands breast surgeon Ian Paterson to call on solicitors previously involved in the case. A hearing to confirm these arrangements will be heard by her honour Judge Whipple on Monday 26 July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
In 2017 Paterson was sentenced to 20 years in jail after being convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding against ten patients at private hospitals in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield run by Spire Healthcare.
The civil claim for compensation was settled by way of an Order made in September 2017 that included undertakings which barred the lawyers who previously acted for his victims from making any further claims against Spire Healthcare, who gave Paterson practicing privileges. The solicitors who had all the background knowledge of the case and specialist expertise in running these claims were not permitted to run new ones.
Those law firms agreed that they would not bring any further cases on the basis that all further claims would be brought by the end of October 2018, and that no further recall of patients treated by Paterson was envisaged. However, as a result of a further recall of 5,500 former Paterson patients, it is clear that there is a need for a new scheme to enable those victims to be appropriately compensated. Recognising that fact, Spire Healthcare have proposed a new fund and a new scheme which will allow those experienced firms to advise new potential claimants.
Kashmir Uppal, a specialist medical negligence solicitor who 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, welcomed the variation of the previous Order:
“The terms of the 2017 Order restrict the new victim’s choice of solicitor, preventing them from instructing lawyers who have the necessary experience and expertise in the issues relating to these cases having been involved in the case from the outset. This new scheme proposed by Spire will, hopefully, draw a line under this tragic story which has affected so many people in the West Midlands but only if all those who have been injured by Paterson come forward now.”