Victims of a British surgeon branded a ‘monster’ for carrying out unnecessary mastectomies are calling for a full inquiry into how he was allowed to operate, after he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Five hundred ex-patients of Ian Paterson are also seeking compensation from a private healthcare provider after he was convicted of ‘wounding with intent’ and ‘unlawful wounding’ of 10 women.

Charlie Massey, head of the General Medical Council, said: ‘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’.

‘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,’ he said after the sentencing on Wednesday.

Paterson was temporarily suspended over a botched operation in 1996 at the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham in central England.

Further concerns were raised about him in 2003 but he was allowed to continue and was only suspended in 2012.

‘The case has highlighted a gaping loophole in the justice system,’ Linda Millband of Thompsons Solicitors, who represented many of the victims and is behind a campaign called ‘Patients Before Profits’, said in a statement.

Dozens of victims and their relatives who attended his sentencing at a court in Nottingham in central England spoke emotionally about the trauma they had suffered from the life-changing surgery.

‘I lost my home, I lost my marriage, I lost my health, I lost my job, I lost absolutely everything,’ said Diane Green, who underwent a controversial ‘cleavage-sparing mastectomy’ by Paterson.

John Ingram, who also underwent surgery by Paterson for ‘pre-cancer’, said: ‘I'm still processing if I think 15 years is enough for somebody who has shown no remorse, who has put his patients through hell’.

Judge Jeremy Baker said Paterson was driven by his ‘own self-aggrandisement and the material rewards which it brought from your private practice’.

‘You deliberately played upon their worse fears, either by inventing or deliberately exaggerating the risk that they would develop cancer,’ he said.

The state-run National Health Service has so far paid out £9.5 million (10.9 million euros, $12.2 million) in damages following claims from nearly 800 of Paterson's patients, the Press Association reported.

Paterson also practised at a series of hospitals run by private healthcare provider Spire in the West Midlands area where Birmingham is located.

Spire apologised to Paterson's former patients for the ‘distress experienced’.

‘Spire has been responding responsibly and with all due urgency ever since these matters first came to light and we would encourage all other parties to do the same,’ it said in a statement.

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