03/01/2012 03:38 GMT

Labour Calls For More Support for Women Over Breast Implants

Private cosmetic surgery firms have a duty to support women with faulty breast implants, Labour said today.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham called on companies to honour their responsibilities and offer help to patients who have gone under the knife.

His demand came amid fears for 40,000 British women who are thought to have received silicone implants made by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

The French authorities shut down PIP last year after the company was found to be using cheaper industrial silicone. Officials in Paris recommended women have the prosthetics removed because of fears they could rupture.

But the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the risk of rupture is only 1% and that removal is unnecessary.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley launched a review of the risks from faulty breast implants after receiving new evidence from major cosmetic surgery firm Transform.

Mr Burnham said that private firms should fund consultations for women who want to see a doctor and discuss their options.

He added: "The industry should meet that cost.

"You get the distinct impression here we are dealing with an industry that's good at the sales pitch and taking the money up front, but less good at the after-care and facing up to responsibilities when things go wrong."

He accused the industry of "evading responsibilities" and told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I would ensure that people who have had a problem, where there has been evidence of rupture, that they get immediate corrective surgery paid for by the private cosmetic surgery industry.

"It's just not acceptable to hear they have refused to do that."

A top surgeon yesterday called for all women who have the implants to have them removed because of the "uncertainty and lack of knowledge".

Tim Goodacre, president of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and a member of the government-commissioned panel investigating the scandal, said: "Even with a very low rupture rate, we would want to see most implants removed on a staged basis.

"If you believe a device is faulty, I think this would be true in your car or any other object that you buy, you would want to have that replaced on a staged basis."