AROUND 750 victims of the rogue breast surgeon who subjected them to needless operations will receive compensation from a new £37 million fund.

Ian Paterson was jailed for 20 years after jurors found him guilty of serious offences against patients at private hospitals in the West Midlands.

Healthcare company Spire has now agreed to contribute £27.2m to the pot, with another £10m provided by the Scot's insurers and the Heart of England NHS Trust.

The fund is intended to halt legal proceedings against Spire and account for any new claims.

Paterson, from Glasgow, was convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court in April.

Jurors heard his motivations are still not known, but he may have carried out unnecessary operations to earn more money.

Some of those affected were left with ongoing pain and said their relationships had been damaged.

More than 500 of Paterson's private patients had been due to take their case to the High Court next month.

In its statement, Spire said the agreement was conditional on all parties agreeing, and the court approving, the terms of a formal court order which will "conclude all current and known claims from patients against Spire Healthcare and its co-defendants, Ian Paterson and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust".

The public body was included in the civil action because patients claimed it neglected to notify Spire of unsafe practices used by Paterson while working for Solihull Hospital.

Simon Gordon, interim chief executive at Spire, said: "Earlier this year a criminal court decided that Ian Paterson must bear responsibility for his actions, finding him guilty of assaulting a number of his patients.

"He behaved with clear criminal intent and abused the trust of those who looked to him for his care and relied upon his expertise.

"However, whilst nothing diminishes Mr Paterson's responsibility for his actions, these events took place in our hospitals, and this should not have happened.

"We accept that better clinical governance in the private hospitals where Mr Paterson practised, as well as in his NHS trust, might have led to action being taken sooner, and it is right that we have made a material contribution to the settlement announced today.

"We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Paterson's patients for their suffering and distress and we would like to repeat that apology.

"As soon as the criminal trial ended we were able to start liaising with claimants' lawyers to broker a settlement involving all defendants."

Medical negligence lawyer Emma Doughty, of Slater and Gordon, which represents more than 100 of Paterson's victims, said: "No financial settlement will ever heal the physical and mental scars inflicted on our clients but they are relieved that they have finally won their battle for justice.

"Even when Paterson was charged and then convicted earlier this year, Spire refused to countenance that they were responsible for his actions, despite his crimes taking place in their hospitals.

"As a result, his victims have faced a long wait not knowing whether they would be compensated for the pain he caused them.

"We are pleased that Spire has finally agreed to settle these cases and importantly, we hope this settlement will send a message to other private healthcare providers that patient safety must be their priority.

"It is now crucial that all of the weaknesses in the private sector management, which allowed Paterson to do what he did for so long, are addressed and overhauled to reassure the public that something like this can never happen again."

During the trial, it emerged that Paterson, who treated thousands of patients during his career, exaggerated or invented cancer risks and claimed payments for more expensive procedures.

He also carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on NHS patients.

The NHS has so far paid more than £17m in compensation for victims.

Figures from NHS Resolution show that as of July 31, it had received 277 claims involving Paterson's NHS practice and paid a total of £17,411,639 on those cases.

Colleagues at Solihull Hospital raised the alarm in 2002 after they discovered Paterson was conducting "cleavage-sparing" mastectomies on patients with cancer.

The procedure is unregulated and put patients at higher risk of the disease coming back.

However, he continued working until suspension by the Trust in 2011.