Additional 7,000 may have implants
Around 7,000 more women in the UK have received potentially faulty PIP breast implants than previously thought, the Government has announced.
Around 47,000 British women in total are now believed to have been given the implants manufactured by closed French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses and have been linked to rupture and swelling in the body.
French authorities previously advised that only PIP implants that were used after 2001 may have included the unauthorised gel.
But following an investigation by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), French authorities said this week that PIP implants made before 2001 may also contain the unauthorised silicone.
This could bring the total number of women affected by the scandal in the UK to around 47,000, including those affected before and after 2001.
According to the Department of Health, around one in five breast implants need replacing within 10 years, regardless of their make, and it says it is unlikely that all 7,000 extra women still have the implants in place.
In January the Government announced that anxious women given PIP breast implants on the NHS would be able to have them removed for free, with private firms expected to offer the same deal.
However, it said any woman refused help by a private company would be able to visit their GP and access NHS care. This deal will now apply to any woman affected by the latest update.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "The French regulator has confirmed this week that more women may be affected by the criminal activity of the French breast implant manufacturer PIP.
"These women are the victims of a fraudulent company and I know this situation is causing a huge amount of anxiety. I want to reassure those affected by the news today that they will be provided with all the help they need from the NHS."