MP raises breast cancer patients in implants debate

Steve Brine urged the government to recognise that 'speed is of the essence' in helping women who had reconstructive breast surgery after battling cancer, as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley addressed the Commons on Wednesday 11th January.

The Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP, who co-chairs the all-party group on breast cancer, spoke after Mr Lansley announced he would take cosmetic surgery companies which refused to remove faulty breast implants from women for free to court.

In a question to the Health Secretary, he said: "I welcome the Secretary of State's statement. As co-chair the all-party group on breast cancer I know we will want to monitor how women are treated by the NHS and private providers.

"For women who have fought breast cancer and been through the trauma of reconstructive surgery, this will bring it all back and be tremendously upsetting. Does the Secretary of State therefore agree that speed is of the essence in respect of replacement surgery where it is wanted, so that those women can again put this nightmare behind them?"

Mr Lansley said he 'completely' recognised the points that Mr Brine had made, and that the 'overwhelming majority' of the approximately 3000 women who had PIP implants through the NHS wiould have had them as breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomy.

He said: "From day one, we were clear that we wanted all those women to be able to get advice, investigation and remedy, and removal and replacement, should they wish. If the NHS was responsible for the original operation, we will be responsible for the replacement with new implants, if that is what is wanted.

"The NHS is very clear about this issue in the advice that was presented. I welcome the fact that my professional colleagues in the associations are making it clear that, through the NHS, replacement procedures for these women should be possible rapidly, but it should not prejudice the availability of urgent referral for cancer, which will continue to be an operational requirement in the NHS."

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You can view the exchange via Hansard here.