Transparency call for private hospitals after Ian Paterson surgery case

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Private hospitals should be made to report unexpected deaths and serious injuries to promote transparency after the Ian Paterson case, a health group has said.

Paterson was convicted last month of unlawfully wounding private patients by carrying out "needless" operations, and the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) called his crimes "beyond comprehension".

The RCS wants to understand why none of Paterson's colleagues challenged the 59-year-old's malpractice and called for a review into improving safety standards and transparency in the private sector as well as the NHS.

In a letter to the Government, the RCS said private hospitals should report so-called "never events" - mistakes so serious they should never happen - in the same way NHS hospitals do.

Clare Marx, RCS president, said: "Ian Paterson wilfully abused the trust placed in him by patients at their most vulnerable.

"His actions and behaviour were appalling and we must do everything in our power to prevent such a violation being repeated.

"Patient safety initiatives have tended to concentrate on the NHS but we also need a strong focus on the private sector, particularly in the collection and publication of patient safety data in private hospitals.

"We must find out why he was able to cause so much harm for so long and what can be done to minimise the risks of similar incidents in future."

Paterson, described in court by one victim as being "like God", lied to patients and exaggerated or invented the risk of cancer to convince them to go under the knife - possibly to improve his earnings.

He was convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding against 10 patients, but one solicitor has said the rogue surgeon could have "hundreds, if not thousands" of other victims.

Paterson is due to be sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court later this month.