A review by the Department for Health into PIP breast implants and the scandal that erupted towards the end of last year has concluded that whilst the regulator acted appropriately and followed clinical advice, there are still serious lessons to be learned.
Following the revelations that industrial grade silicone had been used in breast implants given to tens of thousands of women across the country, Health Minister Lord Howe conducted a report to look at whether the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – the UK’s health regulator – and the Department for Health acted appropriately before and after details of problems arose.
The report emphasises the importance of ensuring the regulator and Department for Health promptly communicate full, clear and accurate information that is accessible to those likely to be affected.
As regulator the MHRA is tasked with monitoring incidents reported to it, ensuring full investigations are undertaken and taking any action that it deems necessary. Whilst the report found the regulator did this, it recommends improvements need to be made in how it communicates such information with the public. Lord Howe also argued the regulator needed to steps to enable it to identify problems earlier.
“…serious lessons must be learned from this scandal. The MHRA needs to look at how it gathers evidence so it is able to identify problems early. It needs to better analyse reports about higher risk medical devices. And it needs to improve the way it communicates with the public.”
In his report Lord Howe identified that there were clear issues with the way problems were reported to the regulator and noted some problems not being reported at all.
With the MHRA’s reputation having taken a knock due to the high levels of press coverage that surrounded the PIP breast implant scandal, the Health Minister was keen to reinstate public confidence in the regulator and its ability to protect the public:
“This report won’t repair the distress caused to women who have PIP implants, but it should give them and the public reassurance that we have identified the lessons; that we will take all steps to act on them; and that, should something like this happen again, our systems for dealing with it will be stronger.”
Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director, is currently undertaking a separate review of the regulation of cosmetic interventions in light of the ever increasing number of cosmetic surgery procedures being undertaken.
If you have PIP breast implants and are concerned, call Holmes & Hills on 01376 320456. Our specialist solicitors will advise you on:
Holmes & Hills Solicitors has a team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors that act for clients across the UK, claiming clinical negligence compensation on their behalf.
For further information on Holmes & Hills’ cosmetic surgery compensation services, see our Cosmetic Surgery Compensation page.