Breast implant ops to be registered
A national register logging every breast implant operation carried out in England is to be established in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the scandal in which tens thousands of women received faulty implants, ministers have said.
The Government has accepted the majority of the recommendations of a review carried out by Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, following the disclosure that the French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) had been manufacturing implants using industrial grade silicone.
Almost 50,000 women in the UK and some 400,000 worldwide were affected by the scandal, which came to light two years ago when doctors found unexpectedly high numbers of women were suffering from ruptured implants.
Poor record-keeping by some private clinics meant that in many cases women who had undergone surgery were unable to find out whether they had been given the faulty implants.
In future, under the Government plans, the type of implant a woman is given will be recorded in the new breast implant register, in the same way that hip and knee operations are already logged.
In further measures, to be announced when Parliament returns in the new year, there will be a ban on aggressive marketing techniques such as offering breast implants as competition prizes, two-for-one offers - so-called "mother and daughter deals" - and time-limited offers.
Training will also be improved, with the Royal College of Surgeons establishing new qualifications and standards for cosmetic surgery. Surgeons will be required to have professional indemnity.
In their formal response to the Keogh report, ministers are expected to announce that the registry will be piloted from next month, with legislation to put it on a statutory footing to be included in the Queen's Speech later in the year.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "For too long, the cosmetics industry has been completely unregulated and there are too many tales of women who have been exploited and of lives ruined by rogue cosmetic firms and practitioners.
"This has to change, so we are taking robust action to clamp down on the cosmetic cowboys in order to properly protect women and the public.
"For the first time, there will be proper training courses for cosmetic surgeons, and we shall be setting up a breast implant registry which will better track the quality of implants and, if required, enable us to act much more quickly to protect women and patients.
"We will also be outlining rigorous plans to clamp down on irresponsible cosmetics advertising. For the cosmetic cowboys, be it on the high street, or in the operating theatre, there will be nowhere to hide."
Th Government's proposals were welcomed by the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Rajiv Grover.
"We are thoroughly relieved that the Government has seen the light in terms of the importance of reinstating the implant register - but the system must be made compulsory, otherwise it is a waste of time," he said.
"Whilst independent consultants and many reputable groups were able to easily contact their patients during the PIP implant crisis, the scandal shone a light on shoddy record-keeping from many corners of the sector; with women being given the wrong or no information at all in regards to what had been placed within their bodies.
" A centralised and comprehensive database is well overdue and essential for the public's safety and peace of mind."