Breast implant scandal: Andrew Lansley indicates support for register

Matthew Holehouse, John Bingham and James Kirkup write in the Daily Telegraph about proposals by Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, for a centralised database of medical implants:

“The minimum requirement is for mandatory databases to be established for all surgical implants and associated techniques. This would need funding, but the NHS would benefit in the long run from avoiding the heavy costs of treating patients whose implants had failed. Such a system would detect problems at a much earlier stage and would reduce the chance of disasters and misery, such as that associated with these PIP breast implants, from occurring again,” [Professor Williams] wrote.

Asked about whether the scandal may lead to such a database, [Health Scretary] Mr Lansley told the BBC: “Yes I think it’s right. It does raise that prospect. There was such a register before 2006 but it was given up because a substantial proportion of women did not want their data on that register.

“At the Department of Health are using anonymised databases to allow us to be much more confident and clear about the safety of what we do.”

A UK Breast Implant Registry was established in 1993 on the recommendation of the Department of Health to track patients with implants and establish whether they were more likely to develop health problems. It closed because too few women wished to take part in the scheme.