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Surgeon who burned initials into livers of two patients fined £10,000

A surgeon who burned his initials on to the livers of two patients during transplant surgery has been given a 12-month community order and fined £10,000.

Simon Bramhall, 53, used an argon beam – used to stop livers bleeding during operations and to highlight an area to be worked on – to sign “SB” into his patient’s livers. The marks left by argon do not impair the liver’s function and disappear by themselves.

In December, the liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon admitted two counts of assault by beating. The offences relate to the incidents on 9 February and 21 August 2013. Prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to the more serious charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Bramhall was first suspended from his post as a consultant surgeon at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital in 2013 after another surgeon spotted the initials during follow-up surgery on one of his patients. A photograph of the 4cm-high branding was taken on a mobile phone.

Bramhall tendered his resignation the following summer amid an internal disciplinary investigation into his conduct. Speaking to the press at the time, he said marking his initials on to his patients’ livers had been a mistake. He now works for the NHS in Herefordshire.

Opening the facts of the case against Bramhall, Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, said one of the surgeon’s victims had been left feeling violated and suffering psychological harm.

“This case is about his practice on two occasions, without the consent of the patient and for no clinical reason whatever, to burn his initials on to the surface of a newly transplanted liver,” said Badenoch.

Badenoch said of the initial transplant operation: “Mr Bramhall had to work exceptionally hard and use all of his skill to complete the operation. At the end of the operation he performed a liver biopsy using the argon beam coagulator, and then used it to burn his initials.”

The court heard that a nurse had asked what the marks were and Bramhall replied: “I do this.” The surgeon later told police he had “flicked his wrist” and made the mark within a few seconds.

“He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient. He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy – a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre,” Badenoch said

The judge, Paul Farrer QC, ordered Bramhall to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He told Bramhall: “Both of the operations were long and difficult. I accept that on both occasions you were tired and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment. This was conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour.

“What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you. I accept that you didn’t intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused.”

The Queen Elizabeth hospital said in a statement: “The trust is clear that Mr Bramhall made a mistake in the context of a complex clinical situation and this has been dealt with via the appropriate authorities, including the trust as his then employer. We can reassure his patients that there was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes.”

Bramhall was issued with a formal warning by the General Medical Council in February 2017. The body said his conduct had not met the standards required of a doctor.

“While this failing in itself is not so serious as to require any restriction on Mr Bramhall’s registration, it is necessary in response to issue this formal warning,” it said at the time.

Surgeon who burned initials into livers of two patients fined £10,000

A surgeon who burned his initials on to the livers of two patients during transplant surgery has been given a 12-month community order and fined £10,000.

Simon Bramhall, 53, used an argon beam – used to stop livers bleeding during operations and to highlight an area to be worked on – to sign “SB” into his patient’s livers. The marks left by argon do not impair the liver’s function and disappear by themselves.

In December, the liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon admitted two counts of assault by beating. The offences relate to the incidents on 9 February and 21 August 2013. Prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to the more serious charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Bramhall was first suspended from his post as a consultant surgeon at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital in 2013 after another surgeon spotted the initials during follow-up surgery on one of his patients. A photograph of the 4cm-high branding was taken on a mobile phone.

Bramhall tendered his resignation the following summer amid an internal disciplinary investigation into his conduct. Speaking to the press at the time, he said marking his initials on to his patients’ livers had been a mistake. He now works for the NHS in Herefordshire.

Opening the facts of the case against Bramhall, Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, said one of the surgeon’s victims had been left feeling violated and suffering psychological harm.

“This case is about his practice on two occasions, without the consent of the patient and for no clinical reason whatever, to burn his initials on to the surface of a newly transplanted liver,” said Badenoch.

Badenoch said of the initial transplant operation: “Mr Bramhall had to work exceptionally hard and use all of his skill to complete the operation. At the end of the operation he performed a liver biopsy using the argon beam coagulator, and then used it to burn his initials.”

The court heard that a nurse had asked what the marks were and Bramhall replied: “I do this.” The surgeon later told police he had “flicked his wrist” and made the mark within a few seconds.

“He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient. He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy – a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre,” Badenoch said

The judge, Paul Farrer QC, ordered Bramhall to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He told Bramhall: “Both of the operations were long and difficult. I accept that on both occasions you were tired and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment. This was conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour.

“What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you. I accept that you didn’t intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused.”

The Queen Elizabeth hospital said in a statement: “The trust is clear that Mr Bramhall made a mistake in the context of a complex clinical situation and this has been dealt with via the appropriate authorities, including the trust as his then employer. We can reassure his patients that there was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes.”

Bramhall was issued with a formal warning by the General Medical Council in February 2017. The body said his conduct had not met the standards required of a doctor.

“While this failing in itself is not so serious as to require any restriction on Mr Bramhall’s registration, it is necessary in response to issue this formal warning,” it said at the time.

Surgeon who burned initials into livers of two patients fined £10,000

A surgeon who burned his initials on to the livers of two patients during transplant surgery has been given a 12-month community order and fined £10,000.

Simon Bramhall, 53, used an argon beam – used to stop livers bleeding during operations and to highlight an area to be worked on – to sign “SB” into his patient’s livers. The marks left by argon do not impair the liver’s function and disappear by themselves.

In December, the liver, spleen and pancreas surgeon admitted two counts of assault by beating. The offences relate to the incidents on 9 February and 21 August 2013. Prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to the more serious charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Bramhall was first suspended from his post as a consultant surgeon at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital in 2013 after another surgeon spotted the initials during follow-up surgery on one of his patients. A photograph of the 4cm-high branding was taken on a mobile phone.

Bramhall tendered his resignation the following summer amid an internal disciplinary investigation into his conduct. Speaking to the press at the time, he said marking his initials on to his patients’ livers had been a mistake. He now works for the NHS in Herefordshire.

Opening the facts of the case against Bramhall, Tony Badenoch QC, prosecuting, said one of the surgeon’s victims had been left feeling “violated” and suffering psychological harm.

“This case is about his practice on two occasions, without the consent of the patient and for no clinical reason whatever, to burn his initials on to the surface of a newly transplanted liver,” said Badenoch.

Badenoch said of the initial transplant operation: “Mr Bramhall had to work exceptionally hard and use all of his skill to complete the operation. At the end of the operation he performed a liver biopsy using the argon beam coagulator, and then used it to burn his initials.”

A nurse asked what the marks were and Bramhall was said to have replied: “I do this.” The court heard that Bramhall later told police he had “flicked his wrist” and made the mark within a few seconds.

“He knew that the action could cause no harm to the patient. He also said that in hindsight this was naive and foolhardy – a misjudged attempt to relieve the tension in theatre,” Badenoch said

The judge, Paul Farrer QC, ordered Bramhall to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He told Bramhall: “Both of the operations were long and difficult. I accept that on both occasions you were tired and stressed and I accept that this may have affected your judgment. This was conduct born of professional arrogance of such magnitude that it strayed into criminal behaviour.

“What you did was an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust that these patients had invested in you. I accept that you didn’t intend or foresee anything but the most trivial of harm would be caused.”

The Queen Elizabeth hospital said in a statement: “The trust is clear that Mr Bramhall made a mistake in the context of a complex clinical situation and this has been dealt with via the appropriate authorities, including the Trust as his then employer. We can reassure his patients that there was no impact whatsoever on the quality of his clinical outcomes.”

Inquiry announced into case of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson

The government will launch an independent national inquiry into the actions of the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August after carrying out needless surgery on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.

The inquiry will begin in January and report in the summer of 2019, and will be chaired by the Right Rev Graham James, the bishop of Norwich.

Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon at the Heart of England NHS foundation trust (HEFT) who practised privately at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent.

The NHS has paid out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients, and Spire healthcare agreed in September to settle a further 750 cases.

The government said the scope of the investigation would include the independent sector, and it would examine whether the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime needed to be strengthened.

The health minister Philip Dunne said he was determined that lessons would be learned so that similar problems could be avoided in both the NHS and the private sector.

Concerns were raised about Paterson as far back as 2003 but, despite several internal and external investigations and complaints from patients, GPs and other surgeons, the General Medical Council did not suspend him until 2011.

Dunne said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes. I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

Lawyers for Paterson’s victims said they were disappointed that the inquiry would not be statutory and would not have the power to force people to give evidence under oath or give binding recommendations.

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case,” said Tom Jones, the head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which represented about 500 victims. “Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this inquiry to kick the can down the road and whose recommendations will not be binding.”

Kashmir Uppal, of Access Legal, said the inquiry was a “positive step” but victims were disappointed and concerned. “The government has said patients’ interests will be put at the heart of this inquiry and so it must take place in public and fully expose the failings that allowed Ian Paterson to continue practising in the private sector long after concerns were raised about him.”

James, the inquiry chair, said serious questions remained unanswered. “It is vital that the inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives,” he said. “The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this inquiry.”

The government said the inquiry would consider oversight of care in the private sector, the sharing of complaints between private hospitals and the NHS, the role of private health insurers, and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the private sector.

One of Paterson’s former patients, Sarah Jane Downey, said she was pleased the inquiry would report quickly, but she shared the concerns of other victims. “It worries me that the inquiry won’t have the ability to compel witnesses. We know there were people who aided and abetted Paterson and they need to answer questions,” she said. “It is a worry that it could be toothless.”

Spire Healthcare, which runs Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, where Paterson practised, initially argued that as Paterson was not technically its employee, it was not responsible for his actions.

In September, it agreed to settle all claims against it relating to Paterson, paying £27.2m into a £37m fund, with the balance funded by Paterson’s insurers and the Heart of England trust.

Inquiry announced into case of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson

The government will launch an independent national inquiry into the actions of the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August after carrying out needless surgery on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.

The inquiry will begin in January and report in the summer of 2019, and will be chaired by the Right Rev Graham James, the bishop of Norwich.

Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon at the Heart of England NHS foundation trust (HEFT) who practised privately at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent.

The NHS has paid out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients, and Spire healthcare agreed in September to settle a further 750 cases.

The government said the scope of the investigation would include the independent sector, and it would examine whether the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime needed to be strengthened.

The health minister Philip Dunne said he was determined that lessons would be learned so that similar problems could be avoided in both the NHS and the private sector.

Concerns were raised about Paterson as far back as 2003 but, despite several internal and external investigations and complaints from patients, GPs and other surgeons, the General Medical Council did not suspend him until 2011.

Dunne said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes. I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

Lawyers for Paterson’s victims said they were disappointed that the inquiry would not be statutory and would not have the power to force people to give evidence under oath or give binding recommendations.

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case,” said Tom Jones, the head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which represented about 500 victims. “Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this inquiry to kick the can down the road and whose recommendations will not be binding.”

Kashmir Uppal, of Access Legal, said the inquiry was a “positive step” but victims were disappointed and concerned. “The government has said patients’ interests will be put at the heart of this inquiry and so it must take place in public and fully expose the failings that allowed Ian Paterson to continue practising in the private sector long after concerns were raised about him.”

James, the inquiry chair, said serious questions remained unanswered. “It is vital that the inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives,” he said. “The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this inquiry.”

The government said the inquiry would consider oversight of care in the private sector, the sharing of complaints between private hospitals and the NHS, the role of private health insurers, and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the private sector.

One of Paterson’s former patients, Sarah Jane Downey, said she was pleased the inquiry would report quickly, but she shared the concerns of other victims. “It worries me that the inquiry won’t have the ability to compel witnesses. We know there were people who aided and abetted Paterson and they need to answer questions,” she said. “It is a worry that it could be toothless.”

Spire Healthcare, which runs Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, where Paterson practised, initially argued that as Paterson was not technically its employee, it was not responsible for his actions.

In September, it agreed to settle all claims against it relating to Paterson, paying £27.2m into a £37m fund, with the balance funded by Paterson’s insurers and the Heart of England trust.

Inquiry announced into case of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson

The government will launch an independent national inquiry into the actions of the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August after carrying out needless surgery on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.

The inquiry will begin in January and report in the summer of 2019, and will be chaired by the Right Rev Graham James, the bishop of Norwich.

Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon at the Heart of England NHS foundation trust (HEFT) who practised privately at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent.

The NHS has paid out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients, and Spire healthcare agreed in September to settle a further 750 cases.

The government said the scope of the investigation would include the independent sector, and it would examine whether the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime needed to be strengthened.

The health minister Philip Dunne said he was determined that lessons would be learned so that similar problems could be avoided in both the NHS and the private sector.

Concerns were raised about Paterson as far back as 2003 but, despite several internal and external investigations and complaints from patients, GPs and other surgeons, the General Medical Council did not suspend him until 2011.

Dunne said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes. I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

Lawyers for Paterson’s victims said they were disappointed that the inquiry would not be statutory and would not have the power to force people to give evidence under oath or give binding recommendations.

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case,” said Tom Jones, the head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which represented about 500 victims. “Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this inquiry to kick the can down the road and whose recommendations will not be binding.”

Kashmir Uppal, of Access Legal, said the inquiry was a “positive step” but victims were disappointed and concerned. “The government has said patients’ interests will be put at the heart of this inquiry and so it must take place in public and fully expose the failings that allowed Ian Paterson to continue practising in the private sector long after concerns were raised about him.”

James, the inquiry chair, said serious questions remained unanswered. “It is vital that the inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives,” he said. “The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this inquiry.”

The government said the inquiry would consider oversight of care in the private sector, the sharing of complaints between private hospitals and the NHS, the role of private health insurers, and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the private sector.

One of Paterson’s former patients, Sarah Jane Downey, said she was pleased the inquiry would report quickly, but she shared the concerns of other victims. “It worries me that the inquiry won’t have the ability to compel witnesses. We know there were people who aided and abetted Paterson and they need to answer questions,” she said. “It is a worry that it could be toothless.”

Spire Healthcare, which runs Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, where Paterson practised, initially argued that as Paterson was not technically its employee, it was not responsible for his actions.

In September, it agreed to settle all claims against it relating to Paterson, paying £27.2m into a £37m fund, with the balance funded by Paterson’s insurers and the Heart of England trust.

Inquiry announced into case of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson

The government will launch an independent national inquiry into the actions of the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August after carrying out needless surgery on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.

The inquiry will begin in January and report in the summer of 2019, and will be chaired by the Right Rev Graham James, the bishop of Norwich.

Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon at the Heart of England NHS foundation trust (HEFT) who practised privately at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent.

The NHS has paid out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients, and Spire healthcare agreed in September to settle a further 750 cases.

The government said the scope of the investigation would include the independent sector, and it would examine whether the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime needed to be strengthened.

The health minister Philip Dunne said he was determined that lessons would be learned so that similar problems could be avoided in both the NHS and the private sector.

Concerns were raised about Paterson as far back as 2003 but, despite several internal and external investigations and complaints from patients, GPs and other surgeons, the General Medical Council did not suspend him until 2011.

Dunne said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes. I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

Lawyers for Paterson’s victims said they were disappointed that the inquiry would not be statutory and would not have the power to force people to give evidence under oath or give binding recommendations.

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case,” said Tom Jones, the head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which represented about 500 victims. “Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this inquiry to kick the can down the road and whose recommendations will not be binding.”

Kashmir Uppal, of Access Legal, said the inquiry was a “positive step” but victims were disappointed and concerned. “The government has said patients’ interests will be put at the heart of this inquiry and so it must take place in public and fully expose the failings that allowed Ian Paterson to continue practising in the private sector long after concerns were raised about him.”

James, the inquiry chair, said serious questions remained unanswered. “It is vital that the inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives,” he said. “The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this inquiry.”

The government said the inquiry would consider oversight of care in the private sector, the sharing of complaints between private hospitals and the NHS, the role of private health insurers, and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the private sector.

One of Paterson’s former patients, Sarah Jane Downey, said she was pleased the inquiry would report quickly, but she shared the concerns of other victims. “It worries me that the inquiry won’t have the ability to compel witnesses. We know there were people who aided and abetted Paterson and they need to answer questions,” she said. “It is a worry that it could be toothless.”

Spire Healthcare, which runs Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, where Paterson practised, initially argued that as Paterson was not technically its employee, it was not responsible for his actions.

In September, it agreed to settle all claims against it relating to Paterson, paying £27.2m into a £37m fund, with the balance funded by Paterson’s insurers and the Heart of England trust.

Inquiry announced into case of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson

The government will launch an independent national inquiry into the actions of the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August after carrying out needless surgery on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.

The inquiry will begin in January and report in the summer of 2019, and will be chaired by the Right Rev Graham James, the bishop of Norwich.

Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon at the Heart of England NHS foundation trust (HEFT) who practised privately at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent.

The NHS has paid out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients, and Spire healthcare agreed in September to settle a further 750 cases.

The government said the scope of the investigation would include the independent sector, and it would examine whether the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime needed to be strengthened.

The health minister Philip Dunne said he was determined that lessons would be learned so that similar problems could be avoided in both the NHS and the private sector.

Concerns were raised about Paterson as far back as 2003 but, despite several internal and external investigations and complaints from patients, GPs and other surgeons, the General Medical Council did not suspend him until 2011.

Dunne said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes. I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

Lawyers for Paterson’s victims said they were disappointed that the inquiry would not be statutory and would not have the power to force people to give evidence under oath or give binding recommendations.

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case,” said Tom Jones, the head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which represented about 500 victims. “Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this inquiry to kick the can down the road and whose recommendations will not be binding.”

Kashmir Uppal, of Access Legal, said the inquiry was a “positive step” but victims were disappointed and concerned. “The government has said patients’ interests will be put at the heart of this inquiry and so it must take place in public and fully expose the failings that allowed Ian Paterson to continue practising in the private sector long after concerns were raised about him.”

James, the inquiry chair, said serious questions remained unanswered. “It is vital that the inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives,” he said. “The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this inquiry.”

The government said the inquiry would consider oversight of care in the private sector, the sharing of complaints between private hospitals and the NHS, the role of private health insurers, and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the private sector.

One of Paterson’s former patients, Sarah Jane Downey, said she was pleased the inquiry would report quickly, but she shared the concerns of other victims. “It worries me that the inquiry won’t have the ability to compel witnesses. We know there were people who aided and abetted Paterson and they need to answer questions,” she said. “It is a worry that it could be toothless.”

Spire Healthcare, which runs Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, where Paterson practised, initially argued that as Paterson was not technically its employee, it was not responsible for his actions.

In September, it agreed to settle all claims against it relating to Paterson, paying £27.2m into a £37m fund, with the balance funded by Paterson’s insurers and the Heart of England trust.

Inquiry announced into case of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson

The government will launch an independent national inquiry into the actions of the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August after carrying out needless surgery on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.

The inquiry will begin in January and report in the summer of 2019, and will be chaired by the Right Rev Graham James, the bishop of Norwich.

Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon at the Heart of England NHS foundation trust (HEFT) who practised privately at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent.

The NHS has paid out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients, and Spire healthcare agreed in September to settle a further 750 cases.

The government said the scope of the investigation would include the independent sector, and it would examine whether the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime needed to be strengthened.

The health minister Philip Dunne said he was determined that lessons would be learned so that similar problems could be avoided in both the NHS and the private sector.

Concerns were raised about Paterson as far back as 2003 but, despite several internal and external investigations and complaints from patients, GPs and other surgeons, the General Medical Council did not suspend him until 2011.

Dunne said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes. I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

Lawyers for Paterson’s victims said they were disappointed that the inquiry would not be statutory and would not have the power to force people to give evidence under oath or give binding recommendations.

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case,” said Tom Jones, the head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which represented about 500 victims. “Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this inquiry to kick the can down the road and whose recommendations will not be binding.”

Kashmir Uppal, of Access Legal, said the inquiry was a “positive step” but victims were disappointed and concerned. “The government has said patients’ interests will be put at the heart of this inquiry and so it must take place in public and fully expose the failings that allowed Ian Paterson to continue practising in the private sector long after concerns were raised about him.”

James, the inquiry chair, said serious questions remained unanswered. “It is vital that the inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives,” he said. “The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this inquiry.”

The government said the inquiry would consider oversight of care in the private sector, the sharing of complaints between private hospitals and the NHS, the role of private health insurers, and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the private sector.

One of Paterson’s former patients, Sarah Jane Downey, said she was pleased the inquiry would report quickly, but she shared the concerns of other victims. “It worries me that the inquiry won’t have the ability to compel witnesses. We know there were people who aided and abetted Paterson and they need to answer questions,” she said. “It is a worry that it could be toothless.”

Spire Healthcare, which runs Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, where Paterson practised, initially argued that as Paterson was not technically its employee, it was not responsible for his actions.

In September, it agreed to settle all claims against it relating to Paterson, paying £27.2m into a £37m fund, with the balance funded by Paterson’s insurers and the Heart of England trust.

Inquiry announced into case of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson

The government will launch an independent national inquiry into the actions of the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August after carrying out needless surgery on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.

The inquiry will begin in January and report in the summer of 2019, and will be chaired by the Right Rev Graham James, the bishop of Norwich.

Paterson, a consultant breast surgeon at the Heart of England NHS foundation trust (HEFT) who practised privately at Spire Parkway and Spire Little Aston, was found guilty in April of 17 counts of wounding patients with intent.

The NHS has paid out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients, and Spire healthcare agreed in September to settle a further 750 cases.

The government said the scope of the investigation would include the independent sector, and it would examine whether the Care Quality Commission’s inspection regime needed to be strengthened.

The health minister Philip Dunne said he was determined that lessons would be learned so that similar problems could be avoided in both the NHS and the private sector.

Concerns were raised about Paterson as far back as 2003 but, despite several internal and external investigations and complaints from patients, GPs and other surgeons, the General Medical Council did not suspend him until 2011.

Dunne said: “Ian Paterson’s malpractice sent shockwaves across the health system due to the seriousness and extent of his crimes. I believe an independent, non-statutory inquiry, overseen by Bishop Graham James, is the right way forward to ensure that all aspects of this case are brought to light and lessons learned so we can better protect patients in the future.”

Lawyers for Paterson’s victims said they were disappointed that the inquiry would not be statutory and would not have the power to force people to give evidence under oath or give binding recommendations.

“We have previously expressed doubt in the current government’s political commitment to take on and tackle failings of the private health sector that were so vividly exposed in this terrible case,” said Tom Jones, the head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which represented about 500 victims. “Our concerns are reinforced by the potential for this inquiry to kick the can down the road and whose recommendations will not be binding.”

Kashmir Uppal, of Access Legal, said the inquiry was a “positive step” but victims were disappointed and concerned. “The government has said patients’ interests will be put at the heart of this inquiry and so it must take place in public and fully expose the failings that allowed Ian Paterson to continue practising in the private sector long after concerns were raised about him.”

James, the inquiry chair, said serious questions remained unanswered. “It is vital that the inquiry be informed by the concerns of former patients of Ian Paterson and their representatives,” he said. “The interests of all patients, whether they seek treatment in the NHS or the private sector, should be at the heart of this inquiry.”

The government said the inquiry would consider oversight of care in the private sector, the sharing of complaints between private hospitals and the NHS, the role of private health insurers, and arrangements for medical indemnity cover for clinicians in the private sector.

One of Paterson’s former patients, Sarah Jane Downey, said she was pleased the inquiry would report quickly, but she shared the concerns of other victims. “It worries me that the inquiry won’t have the ability to compel witnesses. We know there were people who aided and abetted Paterson and they need to answer questions,” she said. “It is a worry that it could be toothless.”

Spire Healthcare, which runs Parkway and Little Aston hospitals, where Paterson practised, initially argued that as Paterson was not technically its employee, it was not responsible for his actions.

In September, it agreed to settle all claims against it relating to Paterson, paying £27.2m into a £37m fund, with the balance funded by Paterson’s insurers and the Heart of England trust.