Ian PatersonImage copyright SWNS
Image caption Ian Paterson has been jailed for 15 years

Breast surgeon Ian Paterson has been jailed for 15 years after carrying out unnecessary cancer operations.

Paterson, 59, was convicted over operations on nine women and one man, but there were hundreds of other victims.

He was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three of unlawful wounding, after his trial.

Jurors at Nottingham Crown Court heard last month Paterson had exaggerated or invented the risk of cancer.

The NHS has paid almost £10m in compensation to his victims, while more than 350 private patients will pursue civil action against him later this year.

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The court was told the defendant, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, urged patients to undergo procedures for “obscure motives” that may have included a desire to “earn extra money”.

Image caption Paterson’s victims gave their reaction to his jailing

The trial heard accounts from 10 victims – representing a sample of those he treated – operated on between 1997 and 2011, at the privately-run Little Aston and Parkway hospitals in the West Midlands.

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Media captionIan Paterson: How first-known victim’s surgery unfolded

Sentencing Paterson, who grew up in County Down, Northern Ireland, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said: “In pursuit of your own… material rewards, you lost sight of what you were doing.

“Without any regard for the long-term effects, you deliberately preyed on their long-term fears.

“You can be a charming and charismatic individual but you deliberately used those characteristics to manipulate your patients.”

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Media captionA woman operated on four times by Ian Paterson said it left her feeling “violated”

Speaking at the sentencing victim John Ingram, who underwent an unnecessary double mastectomy, described Paterson as a criminal who committed grotesque, violent acts.

Another victim Carole Johnson, described him as a “monster”.

In a victim impact statement read out in court she said she felt “violated and vulnerable” and had “lost confidence” because of Paterson’s actions.

Pamela Jain, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said Paterson had repeatedly abused his victims’ trust for more than a decade.

The specialist prosecutor said: “He knew the procedures were not needed but carried on regardless, inflicting unlawful wounds on his patients.

“The impact of Paterson’s actions on his victims has been devastating, from the unnecessary distress of undergoing procedures they did not need, to the scars that will always serve as a physical reminder of what their doctor, Ian Paterson, did to them.”

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Complaints about Paterson had been made for years but managers at the NHS trust that employed him “preferred good news to true news”, a 2013 report said.

Paterson, who was suspended by the General Medical Council after his arrest, was allowed to carry on operating on women for several years despite serious concerns raised about him by other staff, the report by lawyer Sir Ian Kennedy found.

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Bosses at Heart of England NHS Trust had failed hundreds of breast cancer patients, it said.

Sir Ian published his findings in December 2013 – more than three years before Paterson stood trial – although the jury was not told about his report.

‘Deeply shocking acts’

In the wake of his sentencing, the General Medical Council (GMC) said it was crucial such crimes were prevented from happening again.

Charlie Massey, chief executive and registrar of the GMC, said Paterson’s crimes were “deeply shocking acts that betrayed patients’ trust”.

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Media captionDebbie Douglas: “He has mutilated me”

“It is absolutely right that questions are asked about how this happened and more crucially how the health system can prevent it from happening again,” he said.

“As soon as we were made aware of these issues we took action to curb his practice and then suspend him, but his practice went unchecked for so long because some of those in the health system, managers but also his colleagues, had their concerns but failed to report them to us.”

The court case centred on 10 patients who were treated at private hospitals operated by Spire Healthcare.

Following the sentencing the firm said it was “truly sorry” for the distress caused to Paterson’s victims.

“What Mr Paterson did in our hospitals, in other private hospitals and in the NHS absolutely should not have happened and the sentence handed down today reflects the gravity of the crimes he committed,” it said.

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