Data on non-surgical procedures such as dermal fillers will also be examined
4:50pm UK, Wednesday January 11, 2012
The Health Secretary has announced a new review into all cosmetic procedures, including breast implants and dermal fillers.
It will look at how quality and safety in the industry can be improved and better regulated.
NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh will lead the review, prompted by concerns clinics are not collecting data properly.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told Sky News the review could open a “Pandora’s box” but said he would rather tackle the issue proactively instead of waiting for problems to develop later.
Andrew Lansley says the NHS should not pay if patients had PIP implants privately
“I am going to make sure we cast the net widely,” he said.
“This is not just important for us in the wake of the breast implant scandal from France… We want to make it a proactive opportunity to look at safety.”
He said the move should not be interpreted as an attack on the industry.
“I hope they will see it… as a real opportunity to get rigorous standard-setting and reporting,” Mr Lansley said.
It follows significant fears some silicone implants could be at risk of rupture after French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) was closed down for using materials designed for use in mattresses.
Around 40,000 women in Britain are believed to be affected and many wish to get the silicone removed.
However, there has been a mixed response from the cosmetic surgery industry. The Harvey Medical Group, for example, has said it will not replace PIP implants free of charge.
In Parliament earlier, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the Government had let down women who feared their implants were unsafe.
Many of those who had the operations privately have struggled to gain access to their medical records, have faced lengthy delays or “hit a brick wall”, he said.
Mr Lansley said the NHS would be there for women who find their private clinic refuses to remove faulty implants.
The Poly Implant Prothese implants that sparked concern
“Any NHS service in this instance would only cover the removal of the implant, it would not include the replacement of private cosmetic implants,” he said.
“In these cases the Government would pursue private clinics to seek recovery of our costs.”
Mr Lansley said it would not be fair for the taxpayer “to foot the bill” for patients who went private.
When the review into all procedures was announced, Sir Bruce said his priority was to ensure the safety of people who undergo cosmetic surgery.
“The vast majority of practitioners in the cosmetic industry are professional and well skilled – but I’m concerned that the sector as a whole does not have the systems for monitoring the results for patients and alerting us to possible problems.
“I will work with the industry to improve regulation and governance and increase consumer confidence,” he added.
Market analysts Mintel estimates that in 2010 there were 101,904 surgical procedures and 1,250,919 non-surgical procedures carried out in the UK.
But this does not include privately-held “botox parties”.
The same year the market was worth £2.3bn and is expected to grow to £3.6bn in 2015.