Speaking following evidence from Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Independent Healthcare Association and private hospitals Spire Murrayfield and Nuffield Healthcare at today's Scottish Parliament Health Committee, spokeswoman for the PiP Implants Scotland campaign group and client with a private company, Jenny Brown said:
“To hear that it is only by chance that NHS patients in Scotland aren’t enduring this nightmare is worrying. We need to make sure that this is never left down to chance in the future.
“Today has been useful in terms of getting more information out into the open, but the private clinics here today are not really the ones who are the problem – we should be hearing from private clinics. They’re the ones with real questions to answer.
“Some women like me are still being charged by their clinics for replacements and in some other cases being asked to sign away their legal rights to get treatment.”
The last contact she had with her private clinic, Jenny states she was told she would have to pay £2500 for a replacement operation after her right implant ruptured.
However, women who received PiP implants through Spire, Nuffield and paid BMI directly for treatment will get scans, removal and replacement free of charge from those hospitals. For patients who received treatment at a BMI hospital, but paid a third party, BMI have offered to remove and replace the implants at a cost, to be paid either by the third party or the patient.
She appealed to the Scottish Government to do everything it could to ensure the lottery of provision doesn’t continue:
“What we see today is that each private clinic has reacted differently to this scandal. This lottery must not be allowed to continue.
“The Cabinet Secretary must do everything she can to put pressure on every private clinic to provide the same treatment for all women.”
She also welcomed the support from private clinics for a register of implants, which was revealed to be possible in Scotland, and called on the Scottish Government to get working on the issue as soon as possible:
“We welcome support for an implant register and would call on the Scottish Government to get started on this as soon as possible. This measure could help in the future so whatever can be done should get done.”
Solicitor for the Scottish victims and partner at Thompsons Solicitors, Patrick McGuire, said:
“We’ve heard today essentially that the victims of this scandal have been exposed to a lottery of care. The name above the clinic door determines whether you get a free replacement or keep your legal rights intact. This is simply unacceptable.
“The victims of this scandal have rights just like any other consumer. They have the right to demand compensation for the cost of scans, removal, replacement as well as the pain and suffering caused by this whole nightmare.
“Our message to the clinics is therefore quite clear: act responsibly or face the legal consequences.”
He urged women not to suffer in silence and to call Thompsons Solicitors’ free advice line to find out their rights (0800 081 29 24).
“It is important that women affected by this scandal don’t suffer in silence. Speak to your doctor and speak to us to find out your legal rights.”