This article was published on December 20th, 2013
A report into Solihull hospital has concluded that women who underwent mastectomies were left in the dark despite repeated complaints about breast surgeon Ian Paterson.
The report heavily criticises the hospital trust over the controversial breast surgeon.
The trust exposed women with breast cancer to the risk their disease would come back despite repeated concerns about a surgeon’s abilities, the report has found.
Women who underwent mastectomies at Solihull Hospital were not told of the issue years of complaints about breast surgeon Ian Paterson.
The lawyer, who led a review into what happened, accused managers at the trust of “preferring good news to true news”.
He said what happened between 2003 and 2011 was a “tragic story” that was also a story of “secrecy and containment”.
Mr Paterson, who has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC), was allowed to carry on operating on women for several years despite serious concerns raised about him by other medical staff.
It was found that even once the trust did decide to take decisive action, it recalled only a handful of women for further investigation. It was only once new managers took up posts at the trust that a full recall of patients was carried out. It is expected that up to 400 women will sue the trust for clinical negligence compensation.
The report said: “This is a tragic story. It is a story of women faced with a life-threatening disease who have been harmed. It is a story of clinicians at their wits’ ends trying for years to get the trust to address what was going on.
“It is a story of clinicians going along with what they knew to be poor performance. It is a story of weak and indecisive leadership from senior managers.
“It is a story of secrecy and containment. It is a story of a board which did not carry out its responsibilities. It is a story of a surgeon who chose on occasions to operate on women in a way unrecognised by his peers and thereby exposed them to harm.”
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