PIP implants free removal9th January 2012
An expert government committee has said the NHS will remove and replace PIP breast implants free of charge.
Although the committee did not find evidence that the implants should be removed as a matter of course because they endanger health, it said it would operate on patients who were worried about having the implants.
The government said it believed private plastic surgery companies and surgeons would do the same and not charge patients.
The implants, which were made in France, sparked concern after they were found to contain industrial silicone instead of the medical variety of the filler, and they could have a higher risk of leaking and rupturing.
Around 40,000 women are thought to have had the implants in the UK and 95% of the operations were carried out as cosmetic procedures in private clinics.
Experts said women who were worried about the implants should speak to their GPs first.
NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, who chaired the expert review group, said: "On the basis of the information we have, we do not think it is necessary to recommend the routine removal of these implants."
"But we understand that some women will be very concerned so we support the government’s position that the NHS will support removal of PIP implants if the patient has concerns and, with her doctor, she decides that it is right to do so."
Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, said he put patients' worries at the top of his list: "We believe that private healthcare providers have a moral duty to offer the same service to their patients that we will offer to NHS patients - free information, consultations, scans, and removal if necessary."
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