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Lansley questions implant companies

Private medical companies which are currently refusing to replace the banned PIP breast implants free of charge should "step up to their responsibilities", Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says.

He said a review of private cosmetic surgery would look at how firms insure against their liabilities following the scandal, which broke in France last month.

Mr Lansley told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the NHS would be able to help where there was a clinical need. He said women were right to be worried about the implants but insisted they did not need "urgent" medical attention.

The Health Secretary added: "I am not happy about private providers not stepping up to their responsibilities at all. I think the argument that they somehow can't afford to do so begs the question: where was their insurance? Where were they insuring themselves against their liabilities?

"I think their ability to meet their liabilities to their patients should be one of the issues we look at."

Mr Lansley's comments came as Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Government had to make sure private providers met their "moral obligation" to the women affected.

He said: "What I want to initiate is cross-party discussions about how we can not only change the law for the future, but how in any way we can make a difference now to the women affected, even through legislation or other means, to force those companies to face up to their responsibilities.

"We must leave no stone unturned in making those companies be held to account. That's what I want to see and I hope we can do that on a cross-party basis."

On Saturday, 60 women marched on The Harley Medical Group and the Transform offices in London after they refused to replace the implants they had fitted for free.

Mr Miliband wants cross-party talks to consider the possibility of new legislation clarifying the responsibility of private providers instead of waiting for the issue to be thrashed out in lengthy court cases brought by individual women. Labour would also support legislation giving the Care Quality Commission powers to deregister companies as healthcare providers if they fail to provide proper aftercare.


From Belfast Telegraph