The findings of an independent inquiry into convicted breast surgeon Ian Paterson have been delayed as a result of the forthcoming General Election.
The investigation’s report into Paterson’s malpractice was expected by the end of this year, but will now be published in early 2020.
Paterson was found guilty of multiple counts of wounding with intent and was jailed for 20 years.
He worked at hospitals run by the then Heart of England NHS Trust and practised privately at Bupa hospitals in Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, latterly run by Spire Healthcare.
The initial report was due in the summer but because of the huge number of victims who came forward to speak out it was delayed.
The independent inquiry was launched two years ago and is chaired by the Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich.
Sarah Jane Downing, the founder of the support group for Paterson’s private patients, said: “When you consider that the first of my survivors reported what Paterson had done to them in 2012 we have been living with this for a horrifically long time and to have to wait longer still is disappointing and difficult.”
Linda Millband of Thompsons Solicitors, who represented 620 patients in claims against the surgeon, told the Coventry Observer that a general election doesn’t wipe out the need for private healthcare providers to improve their safety record, or prevent other doctors from engaging in similar behaviour.
“The risk to patient safety of waiting to establish – and act on – the root cause of the Paterson scandal cannot be underestimated,” she stated. “It must not become a political football to be kicked into the long grass.”