NHS will support removal of PiP implants – Lansley


The Department of Health (DoH) has said that the companies which performed breast surgery using implants from PiP had a "moral duty" to their patients and that the NHS will support the implants' removal.

While an expert group led by NHS Medical Director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh said there is no link between PiP breast implants and cancer, it concluded that the patients should not have received the implants, which are made with non-medical grade silicone.

PIP Breast Implant – Risk of leaking

Sir Bruce said: "The overriding consideration of the group is the safety and compassionate treatment of women with PiP implants."

The group said that women should be properly supported by those who performed the surgery. Patients with concerns about PiP implants should consult their GP or surgeon.

If after this a patient remains concerned enough to remove the implants, the NHS will perform a replacement if it did the original surgery.

"On the basis of the information we have, we do not think it is necessary to recommend the routine removal of these implants," continued Sir Bruce. "But we understand that some women will be very concerned so we support the government's position that the NHS will support removal of PIP implants if the patient has concerns and with her doctor she decides that it is right to do so."

Since it is considered unfair to the taxpayer for the NHS to pay the bill, the DoH is collaborating with the private sector to ensure an equivalent model of care is provided.

The NHS will support removal of PiP implants, in line with the group's guidance, if the relevant clinic refuses to care for its patient. To avoid the taxpayer footing the bill, the government will vigorously pursue the private clinics.

Experts remain unsure whether the rupture rate for PiP implants is unusually high. If a PiP implant did rupture, according to studies, there would be no risk of dangerous toxins leaking into the body.

However, since Prof Keogh's team are not confident that the manufacturer did not alter the silicone in the implants, it cannot rule out that some implants might be toxic.

The Department of Health acknowledged the need to do everything possible to ensure the safety of people having cosmetic surgery. "It's clear from the information we have received from the industry that the safety information it has provided to the regulator is patchy. Without good data, we have no way of knowing when problems arise."

The expert group will analyse the broader issues surrounding the quality of surveillance, data and enforcement of the sector, and of regulation more generally.

The Care Quality Commission is reviewing evidence of providers' compliance with registration requirements, as well as considering widening the inspections programme.

Determined to prevent a repeat of the situation, the UK and France will continue to share information, with further EU collaboration a possibility.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley expressed his concern for the safety of women with PIP implants. "It has been a worrying time for these women," said Mr Lansley. "We have at every stage sought to offer them as much advice and evidence as is available to us.

"Our advice remains the same that there is not sufficient evidence to recommend routine removal. We have always recommended that women who are concerned should speak to their GP. The NHS will support removal of PIP implants if, after this consultation, the patient still has concerns and with her doctor she decides that it is right to do so. "

"We believe that private healthcare providers have a moral duty to offer the same service to their patients that we will offer to NHS patients - free information, consultations, scans and removal if necessary. "

"Throughout this process we have followed expert advice. The data available to the experts has not been good enough to enable them to give a clear recommendation of the risk posed by PIP implants. We will therefore support women, including removal of the implant, if needed."

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