Police to investigate surgeon in storm over breast ops

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An NHS helpline has been set up for patients of a breast cancer surgeon who is facing separate investigations by the police and the General Medical Council.

Lawyers acting for almost 100 women allege that Ian Paterson carried out “unnecessary, inappropriate or unregulated” operations while employed by the NHS and private hospitals.

Mr Paterson, who has pledged to fully co-operate with the GMC, undertook most of his work at Solihull Hospital after being taken on by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in 1998.

In a statement, a trust spokesman said it was alerted to concerns about Mr Paterson’s practices in 2007 and had instigated a review of breast surgery services throughout Solihull Hospital.

The review found a surgical technique for mastectomies used by Mr Paterson was not usual procedure and it was stopped.

Following the inquiry, the trust identified patients who may have undergone the procedure to review their condition.

Mr Paterson was suspended by the GMC last month and was “excluded” from the trust in 2011 due to ongoing concerns and the recall programme was extended to include all patients who had undergone a mastectomy.

The process of recalling more than 550 patients was completed by March this year.

Thompsons Solicitors, which is pursuing negligence claims on behalf of patients, said an investigation into Mr Paterson by the GMC potentially spans up to 700 cases of a procedure that involved leaving some breast tissue behind after a mastectomy. It is further alleged that up to 450 women could have had invasive breast surgery when a biopsy might have been sufficient.

In a statement, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Markham said: “West Midlands Police can confirm it has received a referral from the General Medical Council in relation to allegations about the medical practices of a surgeon who previously worked in Solihull.”

Kashmir Uppal, a senior medical negligence solicitor at Thompsons, said she believed patients had been subjected to needless worry and risk. She added: “The women who have come forward so far have been very brave. Hopefully, all who have had unnecessary or inappropriate treatment will seek reassurance or justice.”