Scottish victims of the PIP breast implants scandal have welcomed positive talks with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon as helpful, but a step away from the full public inquiry they were demanding.
A delegation of women affected by the scandal and Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jackie Baillie, met with the Health Secretary to make the case for a public inquiry.
Today, the Health Secretary confirmed that better guidance would be issued to GPs on the treatment of PiP victims and that if private clinics are making treatment for victims conditional then the NHS would support them.
Despite progress on these issues, there was no firm commitment to hold a public inquiry and discussions will continue following the publication of Lord Howe’s review into the scandal.
The number of women in Scotland with Poly Implant Prothese implants has been estimated to be between 1,300 and 4,000.
In a statement given following the meeting, spokeswoman for the PIP Implants Scotland campaign group, Trisha Devine, said:
“We would like to thank both Nicola Sturgeon and Jackie Baillie for arranging this meeting and hearing our concerns on this issue.
“We will be having future discussions around a public inquiry, but we are pleased that the Cabinet Secretary is acting on the issues of better guidance for GPs and if private clinics are placing conditions on us that the NHS will support us.
“The victims of this scandal are living an absolute nightmare. Some have had these implants rupture inside of them and others are scared not knowing if they will be next.
“The response from private clinics has not been good enough. We trusted these people with our care and have been left to a lottery. The quality of a person’s treatment should be about need and not the name above the clinic door. We are glad that everyone at the meeting shared this view.
“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.”
Lawyer for the victims and partner at Thompsons Solicitors, Patrick McGuire, said:
“We welcome today’s opportunity to put our case forward for a public inquiry and justice for the victims of this scandal.
“As regards the public inquiry, we accept that it is reasonable to await the outcome of Lord Howe’s review in March and continue discussion then.
“However, let there be no doubt these women deserve the fullest possible answers to avoid this scandal ever happening again.”
Speaking following the meeting, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jackie Baillie MSP, who secured the meeting, said:
“Whilst it is disappointing that Nicola Sturgeon has yet to commit to a full public inquiry for the victims of this scandal, discussions will however continue with campaigners in March. “What these women are going through is a living nightmare. The victims of this scandal deserve answers and expect action.
“The commitments they got today from the Cabinet Secretary are progress, but these women make a strong case for an independent, transparent and thorough public inquiry into this scandal.
“They deserve the fullest support from the Scottish Government."