CHARLES GRAHAM - NHS is not a treasure chest

CAN anyone explain why the British taxpayer should have to foot a multi-million-pound bill for the removal of thousands of potentially dodgy breast implants that women had done privately?

The French Government has set a precedent by agreeing to fund such a precautionary procedure for its citizens after it emerged that mattress filler had been used by the manufacturers PIP in their prosthetics.

Meanwhile our Department of Health has focused on disputing the failure rate statistics, saying the risks are much lower than the French have suggested and so there is no need for operations which can carry their own dangers.

Yet there is a school of thinking that we should just pay up and save the patients’ grief.

But I ask again, why us? The vast majority of these cases (the purely cosmetic ones) have nothing to do with the NHS.

I don’t think there should be any more onus on the NHS to pay for botched private procedures or materials than there was for our Government to have paid out when major manufacturers recall products because they have found a design fault.

It is tempting to rant on about the folly of unnecessary surgical procedures in the name of vanity, but that distracts from the issue at hand.

Perhaps insurance policies should become compulsory for implants in future. As far as the PIP products are concerned, the financial onus should be on the manufacturers and private clinics.