Breast implant scandal- new Government campaign to reassure women
The Government is trying to reassure women fitted with PIP implants to prevent a rush for NHS surgery to remove faulty breast implants.The adverts, to run in a number of national newspapers at the weekend, will emphasise there is “no clear evidence” that the French made implants cause more harm than other brands.
Almost £135,000 is being spent by the Department of Health on the campaign, which will also run in social media sites. Posters will appear in GPs’ surgeries and hospitals as well.
The advert reads: “The latest advice from the NHS and plastic surgery experts is that women with PiP breast implants do not need to have them removed unless they have symptoms such as pain and tenderness.
“There is no link to cancer and there is no clear evidence of an increased risk of harm compared to other brands of breast implants.”
However, it also states, in large-type at the top of the advert: “The NHS will support women with PiP breast implants.”
Clarifying the situation for those who received implants as part of private breast enlargement operations, it states: “”The NHS will remove your implants if your doctor agrees, but the NHS will not replace implants unless it is clinically necessary.”
It advises those worried about whether they have implants made by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), which contain industrial-grade silicone, to find out if they have them, to speak to their specialist or GP, and “agree what’s best for you”.
Despite the campaign, Fazel Fatah, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said the organisation’s stance remained that all 40,000 women fitted with them in Britain should have them removed.
He said: “We remain steadfast in our recommendation to the public of precautionary removal of these defective devices. Although there is no immediate health risk, the gel within these implants is simply not meant to be inside the human body.”
A survey of its 230 members found 95 per cent agreed that “it should be the clinics and hospitals that should pay for the replacement surgery, rather than burden the taxpayer with these costs”.
Women given the PIP implants are due to protest in London on Saturday at the reluctance of private firms like Harley Medical Group, The Hospital Group and Transform Cosmetic Surgery to fund removal and replacement surgery.
Explaining the rationale for the campaign, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said: “The refusal of some clinics to help their patients has left some of those women worried and confused.
“That’s why we are running this ad campaign, to give women clear, definitive advice about what course of action they should take. I hope it helps women decide what is best for them. We have made it very clear to private companies what we expect of them – to provide their patients with the aftercare that they need and deserve.”
“I do not think it is fair to the taxpayer or other NHS patients for the NHS to foot the bill. We will pursue private clinics with all means at our disposal to avoid this.”
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director and leader of an expert group on PIP implants convened by Mr Lansley, said: “At present there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine removal of these implants.
“But I know women will be worried. That’s why the expert group supports the NHS offer and believes the private industry should do the same.”
Tags: Andrew Lansley, Conservatives, cosmetic surgery, Doctors, Health Professionals, nhs cash shortages, NHS charges, private health