Victims of jailed breast surgeon Ian Paterson paid £37m

Debbie Douglas

Paterson performed a cleavage-sparing mastectomy on Debbie Douglas

Spire Healthcare said it made a decision to settle claims against the company relating to actions by Ian Paterson, a former breast surgeon now facing jail-time for carrying out operations on patients he wrongly diagnosed.

The fund will be paid for by the company and the insurers of Ian Paterson, the company said.

Ian Paterson, who was employed as a consultant by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, and who also operated in Spire's Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, was found guilty of the 20 charges he faced, the company said in April.

He was initially sentenced to 15 years in jail but this was upped to 20 in August after Court of Appeal judges ruled the sentence was too lenient.

Spire Healthcare, which runs private hospitals across the United Kingdom, will contribute £27.2m to the fund, which is meant to halt legal proceedings by patients against the group and account for any new claims.

Heart of England NHS Trust was part of the civil action because patients said it failed to notify Spire of Paterson's unsafe methods discovered while working for Solihull Hospital.

The NHS has already paid out £9.49m in damages, as well as £8.31m costs, to hundreds of others treated by Paterson, 59, from Altrincham, Greater Manchester.

Patients treated by a rogue surgeon who was educated in Northern Ireland are to receive compensation to the tune of £37 million.

Despite three reports into his actions, he carried on working until 2011 when he was suspended by the Trust.

The decision is expected to be considered by the high court in October.

During the trial, it emerged that Paterson, who treated thousands of patients during his career, exaggerated or invented cancer risks and claimed payments for more expensive procedures.

Media captionWhat is cleavage-sparing surgery?

Simon Gordon, interim chief executive at Spire, said: "Earlier this year a criminal court decided that Ian Paterson must bear responsibility for his actions, finding him guilty of assaulting a number of his patients".

"However, whilst nothing diminishes Mr Paterson's responsibility for his actions, these events took place in our hospitals, and this should not have happened".

"We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Paterson's patients for their suffering and distress and we would like to repeat that apology".

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