Former Bishop of Norwich announces Paterson Inquiry report

4 February 2020


An independent Inquiry, chaired by the Rt Revd Graham James, has today published its report into issues arising from the malpractice of convicted surgeon Ian Paterson.


The Inquiry heard numerous examples of cases where Paterson performed surgeries and procedures that were not necessary or that he was restricted from doing. The report said:

“Paterson manipulated and lied to people and broke the rules to facilitate his malpractice. Checks and balances designed to ensure patient safety were inadequate or were not followed and this allowed him to continue with unsafe and unnecessary treatment which harmed patients.”

The report contains a number of recommendations which, if adopted, and existing regulations and guidance enforced, would minimise the risk of another Paterson occurring.

Bishop Graham James, Chair of the Inquiry said:

“Our report finds that patients were let down over many years by multiple individual and organisational failures.  There was a culture of avoidance and denial, an alarming loss of corporate memory and an offloading of responsibility at every level.

 Patients were initially let down by Paterson when he performed inappropriate or unnecessary procedures and operations and they were let down both by the NHS and independent providers who failed to supervise him appropriately and did not respond correctly to well-evidenced complaints about his practice.

 Once action was finally taken, patients were again let down by wholly inadequate recall procedures in both the NHS and the private sector. When patients complained to regulators they were frequently treated with disdain. Finally, they were let down by a discretionary indemnity system that avoided giving compensation to Paterson patients once it was clear his malpractice was criminal.

It is vital that Government, regulators and hospitals adopt our recommendations in full and use them as an opportunity to build a better and safer healthcare system.”

 For more information on the inquiry: www.patersoninquiry.org.uk. The full report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/paterson-inquiry-report



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