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Spire Healthcare reaches agreements with patients of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson

"These events took place in our hospitals, and this should not have happened," Spire said, in an unreserved apology to Paterson's victims.
Breast surgeon
Spire has enhanced monitoring of consultant activity since the scandal

Spire Healthcare Group PLC (LON:SPI) is to pay £27.2mln into a fund set up to compensate patients of the disgraced former consultant , Ian Paterson.

The contribution will be paid out of Spire's cash reserves, and treated as an exceptional charge in the accounts, as most of Spire's insurance cover has been used up funding defence costs in the legal cases, as well as in a few settlements.

A further £10mln of insurance may be available from insurance group RSA, depending on whether or not the various claims against Spire Healthcare fall to be aggregated and treated as one claim under the terms of the RSA policy (which Spire Healthcare disputes). There is ongoing litigation between Spire Healthcare and RSA in this regard.

Spire's secondary layer insurer is also disputing coverage.

The private hospitals operator, .along with other defendants, has reached agreement in principle to settle all current and known claims against Spire Healthcare relating to the actions of Paterson, who was jailed for 20 years in April after being found guilty of wounding with intent, performing unnecessary surgery.

The Ian Paterson (Liability to Private Patients) Compensation Fund will provide compensation to around 750 patients who are currently bringing claims against Spire Healthcare, and will provide a mechanism for dealing with any new claims brought before 30 October, 2018.

The agreement is conditional upon the parties agreeing, and the Court approving, the terms of a formal Court Order, which is expected to be considered by the High Court in October.  

“What Ian Paterson did, in both his NHS Trust and in the private sector, was unprecedented in terms of scale and impact,” the company's stock market statement said.

“Spire Healthcare is determined to learn the lessons from these events to ensure they can never happen again. In 2013, Spire Healthcare commissioned an independent report by Verita and has fully implemented the recommendations of that report, significantly strengthening its clinical governance processes,” it added.

READ Information for patients of Mr Ian Paterson

"We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Paterson's patients for their suffering and distress and we would like to repeat that apology. 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," said Simon Gordon, interim chief executive of Spire.

“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,” Gordon said.

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August 21 2015

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