Healthy living

2,800 women with PIP implants turn to NHS for help

Nearly 3000 women with PIP implants turn to NHS for help Refused by private clinics

More than 2,800 women with PIP breast implants fitted at private clinics have been forced to turn to the NHS, according to new figures from the Department of Health.

Women with implants were referred to the NHS by their GPs after private clinics refused to help, or are no longer in business.

More than 1,100 women have had scans and 67 have so far chosen to have the implants removed. Some 455 women referred to an NHS specialist decided not to have them removed.

The figures also show that 741 women had PIP implants fitted by the NHS. Of these, 653 have been contacted and offered a consultation with a specialist. So far, nine women have requested scans and 17 women have decided to have their implants removed.

Earlier this week, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) warned that some private clinics were claiming they did "not to have the skills" to treat problems stemming from ruptured PIP implants. Patients are instead being sent to the NHS to undergo further surgery separately.

All women can have their PIP implants replaced by the NHS if the original operation was done by the NHS. Private clinics are expected to do the same for their patients, the DOH stated.

[Related story: NHS foots the bill for complications after cosmetic surgery abroad]

Health Minister Anne Milton said: "Most patients who have been forced to get help from the NHS because their private clinic has refused to support them seem, so far, to be choosing not to have their implants removed. This appears to show that these women are getting the reassurance they need from speaking to an expert or having a scan.

"All but one of the NHS hospitals that used PIP implants have been able to contact all their patients. They have been offered a consultation with a specialist.

"The expert group does not believe there is enough evidence to advise women to have their implants removed. But it is right that women should be able to seek reassurance from a specialist."

This article was published on Fri 17 February 2012

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