Worried women to get free breast implant removal
Anxious women given PIP breast implants on the NHS will be able to have them removed without charge. Private firms are expected to offer the same deal, the Government has said.
While experts concluded there is no evidence to recommend routine removal of the implants, they said they could not entirely rule out the possibility some are toxic.
Around 40,000 women in the UK received the implants, manufactured by a now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), which were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.
The Government said those patients who had their implants on the NHS as part of breast reconstruction surgery — believed to be around 5% of the total — will be able to have them removed and replaced if they are concerned.
The Government expects firms to give the same offer to anxious women who paid for their implants privately.
All women who have received an implant on the NHS will be contacted and offered a consultation with their GP or their original surgical team.
They could be offered scans to see if there is any evidence that their implant has ruptured.
With the support of their doctor, women who still have concerns will be able to have them removed and replaced free of charge on the NHS.
The Department of Health said: “The NHS will offer a package of care for its patients, and we expect the private sector to do the same.”
The expert group behind the review concluded there is no link between the implants and cancer, as reported in one French case. But it said it was “undeniably the case” that the implants are made up of non-medical grade silicone and should not have been implanted in women in the first place.
The expert group was unable to establish if the rupture rate is higher for PIP implants than for others.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said his main concern has been for the safety of women who have had PIP implants.
“It has been a worrying time for these women,” he added.
“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 surgeon or GP.’’
Gemma welcomes decision to axe fee
By Amanda Poole
Former Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett fully welcomed the Government announcement that NHS patients will have their PIP implants removed for free.
Last night, the 30-year-old model from Belfast said the Department of Health’s expectation that private companies should follow suit is entirely justified.
As first revealed by the Belfast Telegraph before Christmas, Gemma’s £4,500 Poly Implant Protheses (PIP) breast implants ruptured within a year of her surgery at a private London clinic in 2008. It cost the pretty blonde a staggering £11,000 to have them removed and she now has huge cavities where they once were.
At the moment, Gemma has to endure painful medical procedures every six weeks, where blood which has filled the cavities is drained.
Last night, she told the Belfast Telegraph she was “very impressed” with the Government announcement.
“This is great news,” Gemma said.
“For the health and safety of the women concerned, it is definitely the right decision.”
Gemma said she wishes she had never had cosmetic surgery and that “greedy surgeons” at private clinics must now shoulder costs, rather than the burden lying with women, who perhaps cannot afford to pay to have their implants removed.
“Private clinics should not be taking any more money for the removal of these implants.
“Girls haven’t finished growing at 18, so they should be at least 21 before they are even considered for a consultation,” she said.