£37m compensation fund for patients treated by disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson

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Around 750 private patients treated by disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson will receive compensation from a new £37 million fund.

Spire Healthcare, which runs private hospitals in the West Midlands where Paterson worked, will contribute £27.2 million to the fund.

A further £10 million will be provided by Paterson's insurers and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

Tracey Smith and Debbie Douglas
Former patients Tracey Smith and Debbie Douglas (Richard Vernalls/PA)

Paterson was found guilty in April at Nottingham Crown Court of 17 counts of wounding with intent, and three further wounding charges.

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.

The announcement of the new fund is intended to halt further legal proceedings by private patients and account for any new claims made before October 2018.

Frances Perks
Frances Perks, another of Paterson's victims (Joe Giddens/PA)

More than 500 of Paterson's private patients had been due to take their case to the High Court next month.

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.

"He behaved with clear criminal intent and abused the trust of those who looked to him for his care and relied upon his expertise.

John Ingram
John Ingram was given an unnecessary double mastectomy (Joe Giddens/PA)

"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 accept that better clinical governance in the private hospitals where Mr Paterson practised, as well as in his NHS trust, might have led to action being taken sooner, and it is right that we have made a material contribution to the settlement announced today.

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

Patricia Welch (centre), Judith Conduit (left) and Frances Perks (right)
Victims Patricia Welch (centre), Judith Conduit (left) and Frances Perks (right) outside Nottingham Crown Court where surgeon Ian Paterson was initially jailed for 15 years (Joe Giddens/PA)

"As soon as the criminal trial ended we were able to start liaising with claimants' lawyers to broker a settlement involving all defendants. This has resulted in the agreement announced today."

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.

He also carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on NHS patients.

Debbie Douglas
Paterson performed a cleavage-sparing mastectomy on Debbie Douglas (Alexander Britton/PA)

The NHS has so far paid more than £17 million in compensation for victims.

Figures from NHS Resolution show that as of July 31, it had received 277 claims involving Paterson's NHS practice and paid a total of £17,411,639 on those cases.

Paterson was initially jailed for 15 years but this was extended to 20 years in August after Court of Appeal judges ruled the sentence was "unduly lenient".

Paterson's trial heard from nine women and one man who were treated in the private sector at Little Aston and Parkway Hospitals in the West Midlands between 1997 and 2011.

Victims said Paterson's crimes had left them in constant pain and struggling to trust medical professionals.