The Breast and Implant Registry has now been set up in England so that patients can be traced should there be any health concerns with their implants. The register hopes to capture patient’s details for both NHS and private clinic procedures.
Although the inclusion of individual patient’s details is not mandatory, it is a step in the right direction so that patients who consent to their details being logged can quickly be informed about health concerns and/or product recalls if there are any.
The introduction of the register has come about after the PIP breast implant scandal which came to the public’s attention in 2010. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We want the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world and anyone who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure has the right to safe care.
“The PIP breast implant scandal in 2010 affected thousands of people which is why we asked NHS Digital to develop a new register which will allow people to be traced swiftly if that is ever needed.”
As a result of there being no central register previously, many women were unaware that they had PIP implants for some time, clinics had to trawl through records to find out the information and some women never found out because clinics had entered administration. The effects of which meant that many women were concerned to find out whether they had PIP implants or not (some went through unnecessary stress having being told they did not have PIP implants) and delays in advancing a claim because details of PIP implants was not easily accessible.
Importantly, the registry will also allow the identification of possible trends and complications relating to specific implants; as the National Joint Registry has done with orthopaedic implants. Trends in increasing rates of revision were promptly highlighted, leading to actions to improve patient care.
Providers will now (with the consent of patients) be expected to submit patient data via an online portal which will be managed by NHS Digital. Registering patient details will hopefully drive up and maintain patient safety and will, if things go wrong, enable patients to obtain quick access to product details so that they can seek independent legal advice.
Mark Harvey the court appointed lead solicitor in the PIP Breast Implant Litigation said:
“I welcome this news. If it works properly it should make two major improvements to public safety. Firstly there will be quick objective signals identifying a warning of a potentially problem product. Secondly it will then enable all healthcare providers to find and notify the affected patients so that they can communicate with them urgently. The National Joint Registry has proven this is a successful tool for patient safety with metal on metal hips. The unusually high revision rate with the DePuy ASR hip prosthesis was identified by the reports it was receiving from surgeons and patients and so enabling a successful worldwide patient alert to be undertaken.”
The registry is also welcomed by The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, the Association of Breast Surgery and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.
For further details about the Breast and Implant Registry please see: http://content.digital.nhs.uk/bcir