A cosmetic surgeon whose patients went uncompensated for unsatisfactory surgery because he lacked the correct insurance has been struck off the UK medical register. The action followed a BBC TV documentary which highlighted the problems suffered by Paganelli’s patients.
Arnaldo Paganelli, an Italian surgeon who worked privately as an independent contractor for The Hospital Group (THG) in Birmingham, was found to have “deliberately frustrated the purpose of the professional insurance which he is bound to hold” in the cases of four female patients.
According to the BBC, Paganelli produced insurance, but that policy was only valid if he was working in Italy – not the UK.
A medical practitioners tribunal found that, in the only one of those four cases for which Paganelli had valid insurance, he failed to provide the documentation required by his insurer. Paganelli stated to the BBC that he was considering suing his insurance broker, as he was not made aware that he wasn’t covered for negligence claims in the UK.
Although he has been struck off, claims for damages against Paganelli by his victims effectively went nowhere as he was declared bankrupt in 2013.
Paganelli’s employers The Hospital Group now say they have new procedures to check that overseas doctors have full UK insurance cover.
Those carrying out cosmetic procedures should have a legal duty to produce valid insurance, to the patient not just the clinic, as part of the contract process. This can be done online at the point of sale, rather than posting certificates on the wall, which of course can be invalid one day later.
The other part of the equation is that patients wanting cosmetic procedures also need to make sure that their clinic has insurance. They should have a legal obligation to carry out such a check in order to protect the NHS.
If they don’t provide proof that they obtained this assurance by email, with a copy of the digital policy, then subsequent treatments providing by the NHS should be billed to the patient. Why should those who are on waiting lists for life-saving treatments wait longer, so that wonky facelifts or infected tummy tucks can be corrected?