An NHS expert advisory group has concluded there is no causal link between breast cancer and PIP implants.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced the findings of the report conducted by the advisory group – led by nHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh, in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday 11 January).
The report found there to be no clear evidence that PIP implant ruptures lead to increased long-term health risks.
It therefore decided against issuing a recommendation for routine removals.
Conditional on a GP referral, Lansley confirmed those women who received PIP implants on the NHS would have them removed and replaced.
But he claimed, it was "not fair" to the taxpayer to foot the bill for those women who had their implants fitted privately.
If a private clinic has closed down or refused to replace the PIP implants, Lansley said the NHS would remove implants but not replace them.
In such cases, he vowed to sue the private clinics concerned to recover the costs of surgery.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has criticised the government's "inconclusive" and "ambiguous" guidance on PIP implants.
"The government's response has left thousands of women fending for themselves in the face of a self-serving and unaccountable industry," he said.
Cosmetic companies Transform and the Harley Medical Group have said they will replace PIP implants – but only if patients pay for the privilege.
Transform, who has administered PIP implants in over 4,000 women, said a fee of £2,800 would need to be paid per implant replacement operation and the Harley Medical Group, who has over 13,500 patients with PIP implants, said it will cover the cost of the implant but only if the NHS conducts the surgery.
Around 40,000 women in the UK have been fitted with PIP implants.
The implants by French firm Poly Implant Prothese were banned last year after they were found to contain a non-medical-grade silicone filler.
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I have these implants and I don't feel that the NHS should foot the bill for error the of any private medical group. However I am a taxpayer and should get some form of help. You go private for a reason. However I will now be seeking legal advice against Transform." - Ashley Campbell, Berkshire
"Yes, these women have something inside them that isn't fit for humans. They have been given a faulty product and when faulty products are recalled they get replaced free of charge. These are potentially dangerous to their health." - Andrea Franklin, County Durham
"I don't feel the NHS should be held responsible for the private clinics, this will be deducting funds from an already stretched budget. These women should continue to sue their private clinic instead of taking more money from the NHS when they themselves are not responsible." - Christina, Bristol
"Yes, if the government allowed the products to be used on patients then yes they should pay. If you're working are you not paying towards the NHS?" - J Lewis, Harrow
"Yes, there are many ladies out there with a implant that could in time lead to cancer or other unknown illnesses, which in the long run will cost the NHS greatly, and a big time bomb waiting to happen. If every other country is removing and replacing should that not tell the government something. Money before the health of the people - shame on them." - Mrs Rogers, Germany
"I had PIP implants put in in 2008. I believe surgeons knew that they were dangerous back in 2005, therefore all this is not my fault. I should be able to get my implants removed free of charge with Harley medical group ASAP. I am really scared because I can't afford it and I could become seriously ill from their mistake." - Nicola Jewitt, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
"Yes they should, the implants has a kite mark on them witch means they have been approved. They help people on drugs and people that are overweight. It's not our fault or the clinics' fault, it is the governments fault for letting them be sold." - Claire Robson
"The NHS will still have to treat all these women when they become very ill - removing the implants and the affected lymph gland. This will possibly leave total numbness in that arm which even if they have no other symptoms mean they will not be able to work. Their immune system could also be affected, it can cause arthritis, and the link to cancer will not be known for many years to come. I think these ladies will possibly suffer enough in the name of vanity, many took out loans or their circumstances have changed and they are not in a position to pay for this treatment. Many paid for this treatment because they hated their bodies - depression/low self esteem would have had a cost to the NHS as well. The private sector should pick up the tab but some of them won't. Do we tell the people that are addicted to drink, drugs, tobacco or overweight that it is self-inflicted and we will not help them? When will the NHS ask the women with known ruptured implants to register their details? Only then can a more accurate figure on rupture rates be calculated - also a register for women with symptoms of a rupture." - Nikki Bridges, Ashford
"Yes, the NHS should cover cost of the replacement of privately fitted PIP implants as going private in beginning saved the government and taxpayers a fortune. Why should they be treated differently and left to suffer, we are all equal individuals!" - Deborah Hamilton, Newcastle
"I had breast augmentation 2 years ago, I had them done at a private clinic. I think that if the private clinic gave the NHS half of the monies then YES NHS should help, if NO then the private clinic should foot the bill. I'm sure they didn't offer the NHS anything when they were getting rich. Now with what's going on they seem to want to pass the buck." - Esmene, London
"Yes the NHS should remove and replace all PIP implants. Women have paid lots a money for this treatment and it was the governments fault for saying these implants are safe to use so let them put the situation right!" - Rosie Tarlin-Toley, Northampton
"The issue here is that the implants are NOT medical grade, whether there is a link yet or not, it is still not safe to be inside women's bodies! I think it is shocking that no one is taking responsibility for this, and that France and Wales have been so much more efficient and supportive to the women that are going through this by removing them and replacing them. It is bad the private clinics won't do it, but I can understand what they are saying because it was the government that passed these implants in the first place. I can't believe they are mulling about so much over this and not actually taking any action, just saying 'no you do it', 'no YOU do it'. It's pathetic." - Madeleine Burgess, Midlands
"I have PIP implants and they should be replaced. We didn't pay for faulty implants, it's the same as buying something from a store that is faulty, they either refund it or replace it." - Andrea Callaghan, Stockton-on-Tees
"If the state is happy to treat and thereby encourage alcohol-heads to get hammered weekend after weekend, then surely they should treat ladies who have been dropped in it." - Mike, Warks
"Yes I think they should. I had my surgery as due to having my two daughters I lost all breast tissue, and paid £4000 for the surgery with transform in 2000. In 2007 they went hard and I had to fight to get them removed, I had to write to the Sunday Mail for help in this. I don't know if they were PIP implants but had them replaced with new ones at a cost of £9000 in 2008. If I have to pay more to have them removed and replaced again I will be very angry. Transform should pay for the procedure. The NHS should not have to cover the cost, the private clinic should." - Deborah O'Neil, Paisley
"Yes they should as the government should never have passed them if they were a health issue." - Hannah, London
"Yes, because the NHS allowed an industrial grade product onto the marketplace that will ultimately cause consumers harm. Women may have chosen implants at private clinics, but it was the government agency who approved non-medical-grade silicone filler in the marketplace. The NHS along with the French PIP should foot the bill, and for future health issues resulting from these PIP implants." - Petra, New Jersey
"Yes, they were bought in good faith and obviously the whole industry is not supervised sufficiently by the health dept. If someone chooses to smoke, drink or over eat why should they be treated on the NHS, gastric bands etc. We all pay our taxes." - Denise, Warrington
"Yes I do. I have PIP implants and no one has contacted me from the Harley Group. I don't even know if mine have leaked. Since the credit crunch I have lost everything my marriage and my house is being repossessed and I can't get credit. What will happen to me? I am sick with worry." - Jacqueline Musk, Thornton Heath
"Someone, whether it is the NHS or the private clinics, should pay for the replacements beacause women have been unfairly mis-sold the product." - Jeanna Pearson, Crawley
"If it was the government that mucked up and said these implants were originally safe, then yes they should pay to replace them. Who wants a toxic substance in their body?! If we were informed of this at the outset then obviously we would never have allowed for it to be put into our bodies." - Michelle, Orpington
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