Sophie Goodchild, Health and Social Affairs Correspondent
3 Jan 2012
CLINICS which have given women faulty breast implants are failing to co-operate with an official inquiry into the scandal.
The Evening Standard has learned that some doctors have refused to provide details on cases where implants have ruptured.
Officials are said to be dismayed by their reluctance to pass on data which could assist the investigation.
At least 50 British clinics have so far reported cases of implants rupturing. Medical watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said that it had identified dozens of doctors who used defective implants in patients.
Today a leading plastic surgeon said the clinics involved had a duty to come forward to help the 50,000 women affected, including breast cancer patients.
Fazel Fatah, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: “Anybody who is in possession of data in relation to these implants has a duty to come forward and present the information they have.”
Mr Fatah is a member of the expert review panel which will tomorrow issue guidance to women who received the French-made PIP implants containing gel which was believed to be meant for mattresses.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, another leading surgeon, is heading the review which will analyse data provided by clinics on how many implants have ruptured.
Today he said that the safety of the women who received PIP implants was the priority. The NHS medical director added: “I will be reviewing all the available data during the week to work out what we should advise patients, but let me be clear that the safety and compassionate treatment of women will be key to my deliberations.”
There have been 20 cases of cancer in French women who received the implants. But doctors insist there is no proven link between the implants and the disease.
The Department of Health has said the NHS will only fund removal of the PIP implants if they have ruptured, causing industrial-grade silicone to leak into surrounding tissue.
However, plastic surgeons have called for phased removal of the implants at a potential cost to the taxpayer of £150 million.