‘We’ll fight on’ vow Scottish women as breast implant inquiry rejected

PIP implants campaigners Tricia Devine, second right, and Jenny Brown, centre. Picture: Neil Hanna
PIP implants campaigners Tricia Devine, second right, and Jenny Brown, centre. Picture: Neil Hanna
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WOMEN affected by faulty silicone breast implants have vowed to continue their fight for a public inquiry after their call was rejected by the Health Secretary.

Campaigners hoped to convince the Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon to back their case during a meeting at the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

About 47,000 British women are believed to have been given implants manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), which were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses and have been linked to rupture and swelling in the body.

An estimated 4,000 women in Scotland may have been given the implants by private companies.

Trisha Devine, spokeswoman for the PIP Implants Scotland campaign group, said she is disappointed there will be no immediate Scottish inquiry.

“We’ve been campaigning tirelessly and prepared a very strong case for an independent, transparent and comprehensive public inquiry into this scandal,” Ms Devine said.

“We’re disappointed that Nicola Sturgeon has not committed the Scottish Government to a full public inquiry into the issue, but today’s discussion was productive.

“We came asking the Scottish Government to do its best to avoid a scandal like this ever happening again. We haven’t quite got there yet, but today has been helpful. We still want a public inquiry.”

Ms Devine, 34, from Bannockburn, Stirling, paid £4,000 for her cosmetic implants through private health company Transform Medical Group in 2004. She heard about the health warnings last December, but has not suffered any ill effects to her health.

Transform has since agreed to give free scans to affected women. The NHS will remove the implants if there is a clinical need.

A review found last month that the UK government and health regulators have “serious lessons” to learn about the way they inform the public of concerns about medical devices.

Jackie Baillie, Labour’s health spokeswoman, said: “Although the outcome of today’s discussion with Nicola Sturgeon is disappointing, the Cabinet Secretary is now fully appraised of the victims’ concerns and the critical questions that remain outstanding, following the UK government’s official reports into the scandal.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are supportive of the group and have been very clear that private healthcare providers have an obligation to give their patients the same level of care as our NHS.

“However, Scotland is already involved in three UK-wide inquiries into the use of PIP implants, which will have implications for Scotland. And we are not persuaded that there are grounds for a public inquiry.”