Wednesday, 22 February 2012
I've had several female readers ask why I haven't written about latest breast implant problems so I hope this post answers their questions.
It's common knowledge that certain private health clinics and some surgeons in the English NHS have used the French-made Poly Implant Prothese implants. (I understand they have not been used by the NHS in Scotland).
Today Nicola Sturgeon met with a delegation of women to call for a public inquiry into the scandal. The Labour MSP Jackie Baillie accompanied the women and said 'the victims of this scandal deserve answers and expect action.'
In the past 15 years two of my friends have had breast cancer and both opted for implants. One died because her cancer was too aggressive and the other still has regular checkups. Her implant (she only has one) suits her body shape and, at a glance, it's impossible to identify it is false. Her operation was carried out by an NHS plastic surgeon who carefully explained all the dangers of any form of implant or invasive surgery and she admitted at the time that she would not have considered the operation if she had not experienced balance problems after her mastectomy. The suggestion was an implant may help and it has.
Breast implants for any other reason than medical, is a problem for me. Perhaps it's generational, but I find the photo of Helen Flanagan (picture) anything but flattering. For those interested she's the current girlfriend of a footballer.
There's nothing alluring or sexy about false breasts on many women, but it's all the fashion within certain circles and many women will pay thousands of pounds to attain this look through cosmetic surgery. That's fine with me, as long as they don't expect the taxpayer to right any wrongs or to remove them in later years when they suddenly realise how ridiculous they look on an older woman.
I'm told by a retired nursing friend that complications with this and other cosmetic surgery is more frequent than publicised. The NHS has to pick up the pieces of women (and men) who have been victims of poor procedures undertaken by the private sector. Nowadays surely there's no excuse for anyone not fully understanding the pros and cons of cosmetic surgery?
The women who met with Nicola Sturgeon today were most fortunate. I know of one friend who has been suffering serious back pain for some months now. She is confined to her home because the amount of diamorphine she requires makes walking difficult. Her problem is exposed spinal nerves caused by years of wear and tear as a PE teacher. There is something that can be done for her and to date she's spent a fair amount of money using private consultants for examinations, but the NHS Pain Clinic in Dundee has an 18 week waiting list, so she will be completely incapacitated until she attends there for the treatment she knows will help. My friend would dearly love to meet with Nicola Sturgeon to ask why she's having to wait so long for treatment. If it was available privately she would use her small savings to pay for some relief from the relentless agony, which is only alleviated for around 30 minutes after her 6 hour doses of diamorphine and other medication.
I hope Ms Sturgeon explains to Jackie Baillie and these women that it is not in the people's interests for a public enquiry to be undertaken with regard to their voluntary procedure for cosmetic breast enhancements. They know should they have any on-going medical problems with their expensive 'enhancements' the NHS will be their first port of call and the taxpayer will pay, but we shouldn't be paying to remove PIP implants or replacing them.
That money would be far better spent on providing another specialist pain clinic in Scotland rather than sending Scots 500 miles south to Bath.