The PIP breast implant scandal was back in the headlines last week with the publication of NHS medical director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s review.
In January the expert group, led by Keogh, found that there was insufficient evidence to recommend the routine removal of PIP implants. The group’s final report, which was published last week, concluded that the PIP implants were twice as likely to rupture as other brands – having a 15-30 per cent chance of rupturing after ten years. However, it also found that the gel material used in the French implants is not toxic and does not cause a long-term threat to human health. As a result, the group said that the advice to women who have PIP implants remains unchanged.
The report “partially answers” questions about the toxicology, Scottish Labour’s public health spokesperson, Dr Richard Simpson tells Holyrood, but adds he feels questions remain.
“I think there have to be some caveats around Sir Bruce Keogh’s report saying that the long-term effects over 20 years as opposed to ten are not really fully established. So they only really partly resolve the situation and if you’ve got a double level of rupture, why was that not picked up earlier? Why was there not monitoring in place? So there are questions around that that need to be answered.”
Around 47,000 women in the UK have had the implants fitted. In Scotland, a campaign group representing women affected by the scandal has pledged to fight on until they find the answers they are seeking. Campaigners from the PIP Implants Scotland campaign group met with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon earlier this month to urge her to commit to a full independent public inquiry. In this, the campaigners have the backing of Scottish Labour and the party has also launched its own seven-point PIP action plan aimed at helping victims of the scandal. Among the measures that the party is calling for include the establishment of minimum standards for private clinics, an early notification procedure, and a summit of the private providers to ensure a consistent aftercare approach is adopted.
Commenting following the launch of the action plan, the lawyer for the victims and partner at Thompsons Solicitors, Patrick McGuire, said those affected have articulated a “very convincing” case for a public inquiry to take place in Scotland.
“This is a serious Scottish public health issue, and we stand side-by-side with the campaign group and the wider PIP implant victims.
“With so many women suffering in silence with these potentially toxic implants, and in the absence of consistent treatment by health officials, it is of critical importance that the Scottish Government acts decisively to answer fully the many questions that have been raised today.”