New evidence has emerged which shows that around 7,000 more women in the UK may be victims of the PiP scandal caused by a French breast implant manufacturer, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has announced. These women will be eligible for the same NHS care as announced in January.
French authorities had previously advised that only PiP breast implants that were used after 2001 may have been made with unauthorised silicone gel. Following an investigation by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the French authorities have now reported that PiP implants made before 2001 may also contain unauthorised silicone gel.
This means an extra 7,000 women, who had PiP implants before 2001, could be affected. About one in five breast implants need replacing within ten years, whatever the make, so it is unlikely that all these 7,000 women still have the same PiP implants.
The independent expert group – led by the NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh – continues to advise that there is not enough evidence to recommend routine removal of PiP breast implants given that this would mean many women having to have surgery.
However, the government has recommended that if women are concerned they should speak to their surgeon or 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. The NHS will replace the implants if the original operation was done by the NHS.
The government expect the private sector to do the same for their patients. It believe that private providers have a duty to take steps to provide appropriate after-care to patients they have treated. If a clinic that implanted PiP implants no longer exists or refuses to care for their patient – where that patient is entitled to NHS services, the NHS will support the removal of PiP implants where clinically necessary.