3,000 women turn to NHS for PiP implant help

Published on Friday, 17 February 2012 12:07
Posted by Scott Buckler

Nearly 3,000 women who have PiP breast implants have been forced to get help from the NHS because their private clinics have failed to help, according to new figures published today by the Department of Health

The figures show that:


  • 2,860 women have been referred to NHS specialists by their GPs.
  • More than 1,100 women have had scans.
  • 67 women have so far chosen to have their PiP implants removed – 12 have been removed already.
  • 522 have completed the process with the vast majority having decided not to have their implants removed on the NHS.

Most NHS patients - 653 out of 741 - have now been contacted and offered a consultation. So far, nine women have requested scans and 17 women have decided to have their implants removed.

Bruce Keogh’s expert group met earlier this week and continues to advise that there is not enough evidence to recommend routine removal of PiP breast implants. The group continues to recommend 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 group and the Government expect the private sector to do the same for their patients. The Government is looking at how the NHS can recoup the costs.

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.”

The Government has advised women to take three steps to reassure themselves. The steps are to:

  • Find out if they have PiP implants by checking their medical notes. This information can be accessed for free from clinics or through GPs. Women who had PiP implants on the NHS will receive a letter in the next few weeks.
  • Speak to their GP or surgeon. Women who had PiP implants on the NHS should speak to their specialist or GP and women who had them done privately should speak to their clinic.
  • Agree what’s best for you. Women should get advice on whether or not they need a scan then discuss appropriate action with their doctor.

For those who decide with their doctor that they want their implants replaced, the NHS will do it for free if the original operation was done on the NHS. However, if the original operation was performed in a private clinic the patient will need to speak to their clinic to see if they will replace them for free.

The Chief Medical Officer has written to all GPs to set out what they should do if a private patient with PiP implants asks for their help. The letter is available on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk.

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