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GMC statement on sentencing of Ian Paterson

GMC Statement

31 May 2017

Charlie Massey, GMC Chief Executive, responds to today's sentencing of surgeon Ian Paterson

Charlie Massey , Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Medical Council, said:

‘The crimes which Ian Paterson has been convicted of were deeply shocking acts that betrayed patients’ trust. 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.

‘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 world is a fundamentally different place now, with regular checks on a doctor’s fitness to hold a licence and a UK-wide network of senior medical staff responsible for ensuring that every aspect of their doctors’ competence and behaviour is up to standard.

‘We will now continue with the fitness to practice process which was paused while the criminal proceedings were carried out, and seek to hold a tribunal based on Ian Paterson’s conviction as swiftly as possible.’


Notes to editors

The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

  • We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
  • We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
  • We take action when we believe a doctor may be putting the safety of patients, or the public's confidence in doctors, at risk.

We are independent of government and the medical profession and accountable to Parliament. Our powers are given to us by Parliament through the Medical Act 1983.

We are a registered charity (number 1089278 with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and number SC037750 with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), we have to show that our aims are for public benefit.

The GMC Media Relations Office can be contacted on 020 7189 5454, email

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