Professor Wishart features in ITV film on Ian Paterson - 'Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon

Rouge breast surgeon, Ian Paterson who is currently serving a 20-year jail sentence for ‘botched operations’ which were performed over a 14-year period features in a new ITV film titled ‘Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon’, which is to be aired this Sunday at 10.15pm.

Ian Paterson was adored by patients both in his private practice and the NHS and was treated like a ‘god’ for raising huge sums of money for his cancer clinic at a local private hospital. Patients thought Paterson had cured them of breast cancer and saved their lives. However, Paterson was diagnosing cancer when there wasn’t any and cutting open his patients for no reason.

Ian Paterson worked across a number of NHS hospitals and private clinics throughout the Midlands region as a breast surgeon with thousands of patients referred to him from 1994 onwards.  These patients, who were mainly women, were concerned that they may have breast cancer after finding suspicious lumps in their breasts.  Ian Paterson put his patient's lives at risk by performing unnecessary and damaging surgery and has often been compared to the notorious Harold Shipman.

In 2017, Ian Paterson was jailed for 20 years on 17 counts of wounding with intent. Five years on, this film from the Bafta-winning ITV Exposure strand talks to the victims, fellow doctors, and for the first time a key whistle-blower to tell the extraordinary story of how this rouge breast surgeon was able to carry out unregulated surgery on so many for so long.

Professor Wishart, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Check4Cancer has published widely in the field of breast cancer and is a medical expert in cases of clinical negligence, especially delay in diagnosis and the impact on survival for patients with breast cancer. He was the lead Claimant expert witness in the civil litigation against Ian Paterson having reviewed hundreds of the disgraced surgeons’ cases.  He also gave evidence at Ian Paterson’s criminal trial in 2017 where he was a key prosecution witness.  The ITV documentary speaks with Professor Wishart in detail on why Ian Paterson did what he did, was he a trained breast surgeon, and what Professor Wishart thinks of the government's response to the recommendations made by the Paterson Inquiry.

Using lessons learned from the Ian Paterson breast surgeon scandal, Professor Wishart developed a safe private diagnostic pathway for breast cancer, where all clinical, imaging and biopsy investigations are performed on the same day.  This best practice, OneStop Breast pathway is available at Check4Cancer approved clinics and conducted by a network of 65 plus consultant breast surgeons throughout the UK, with a breast radiologist present in clinic. All surgeons are vetted before joining the network and must report all investigations performed and results from each case. This safe breast cancer diagnostic service was developed in order to prevent patients from being mis-diagnosed and over 15,000 patients have now benefited from this service.

With a coroner currently investigating further Paterson cases that have come to light, it's still unclear how many may be affected. The ITV film follows those campaigning for answers on behalf of Paterson’s thousands of patients and asks has enough been done to investigate what happened and to prevent another rouge surgeon from operating again. 

You can watch ‘Bodies of Evidence: The Butcher Surgeon’ on Sunday 12th June at 10.15pm on ITV.