Findings of the Paterson Inquiry Published

4th February 2020


The two year Inquiry heard 181 first-hand accounts from the surgeon’s former patients with evidence gathered over several hundred sessions with patients, families and other witnesses.

In the report, the Rt Rev Graham James, who chaired the Inquiry said there was a culture of “avoidance and denial”, which allowed Paterson to carry out unnecessary and sub-standard operations on hundreds of women.

A number of recommendations were made in the report which found that “patients were let down over many years” by the NHS and private hospitals, and opportunities to stop Paterson were “missed, time after time”.

The recommendations of the Inquiry report are:

  • Complete recall of all patients of Ian Paterson from NHS trust and Spire Healthcare
  • A national framework or protocol is developed about how recall of patients should be managed and communicated
  • “Accessible and intelligible” single repository of consultants’ key performance data
  • Standard practice for consultants in NHS and private hospitals to send a letter to patients outlining condition and treatment and copy letter to patient’s GP
  • The difference between how NHS and private care is organised, is explained clearly to patients receiving private healthcare
  • Introduction of short period of time for patients to reflect on diagnosis and treatment before consenting to surgical procedures
  • CQC should assure all hospital providers are complying with national guidance on multi-disciplinary team meetings
  • Information on how to complain to an independent body is communicated more effectively in NHS and private sector
  • The Government should, as a matter of urgency, reform the current regulation of indemnity products for healthcare professionals
  • Current system of regulation and the collaboration of the regulators serves patient safety as the top priority
  • When a hospital investigates a healthcare professional’s behaviour, any perceived risk to patient safety should result in the suspension of the healthcare professional
  • When NHS or private hospitals do not take responsibility for what has happened, the Government addresses, as a matter of urgency, this gap in irresponsibility and liability
  • When things go wrong, boards should apologise at the earliest stage of investigation
  • If the Government accepts any of the recommendations concerned, it should make arrangements to ensure that these are to be applicable across the whole of the independent sector’s workload (i.e. private, insured and NHS-funded) if independent sector providers are to be able to qualify for NHS contracted work.

The full report can be accessed via the following link: Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Issues raised by Paterson


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