BAPRAS response to Health Committee’s report on PIP Breast Implants and the regulation of cosmetic interventions

MEDIA RELEASE- 28 March 2012

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (BAPRAS, which represents Plastic Surgeons on behalf of the Royal Colleges), says the findings of the House of Commons Health Committee's 16th report on PIP Breast Implants are a fair assessment of the complex situation surrounding the use of these devices. The report supports many of the recommendations that BAPRAS has made as part of the Government's Expert Panel.

BAPRAS President Richard Milner said:

"The health of the women involved remains the key priority for any action and, in the continued absence of clear data about the impact of the non-medical grade silicone that has been used in the PIP Implants, we continue to believe that the best course of action is to proactively remove these implants.

"All providers of cosmetic surgery - whether through the NHS or private clinics - must place the safety of their patients first and further consideration is needed to ensure private clinics have the capacity to provide remedial treatments if they become necessary.

"The Select Committee's proposal for all women to be able to have NHS funded removal and privately funded replacement of PIP Implants in one operation using NHS facilities raises real questions about the on-going legal and practical operating framework for the NHS, both for the immediate operation and for future care of the women involved. It also raises the difficult question of offering surgery of a cosmetic nature to women with PIP Implants which is not available to other women. While we agree with the principles behind the recommendation, closer examination of the practicalities is required.

"We agree that the continued collection of data about the effect of PIP Implants to investigate the persisting uncertainties surrounding these devices is a matter of urgency and may require additional mechanisms to deliver scientifically valid answers. As we have previously recommended, we believe an implant registry would have considerable benefits and are pleased to see that this idea is supported.

"We are also pleased to note the Health Committee's desire for UK authorities to be world class in standards setting, from regulatory procedures to CE mark strengthening."

As the representative body of all UK plastic surgeons, BAPRAS will continue to urge members to maintain their vigilance of adverse incident detection and reporting. The concept of fully informed consent is embedded in the ethos of the Association's adherence to the highest standards and any examples of bad practice should be brought to the attention of the GMC. 

BAPRAS also extends its information and advisory support to all plastic surgeons in the UK and abroad, and welcomes membership from those who can demonstrate their standard of training and continuing practice. 

BAPRAS looks forward to continuing to work with the Government to address these issues and ensure quality treatment for all patients in the UK.