Makers of faulty hip to pay for surgery

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The Independent Online
The manufacturers of the artificial hip at the centre of a nationwide health scare yesterday offered to pay for "lifelong follow-up" treatment of all patients who have been issued with the implant.

Following a meeting with 3M Health Care, the makers of the faulty hip joint, and Val Gooding, managing director of BUPA, the Department of Health confirmed that 3M would meet the entire costs of "identifying and reviewing" all patients who were fitted with the 3M Capital implant and any revision operations required.

"These operations may be carried out either in a BUPA hospital or an NHS hospital if the patient prefers," said a statement from the Department of Health.

"The company commitment also extends to life-long follow-up of patients implanted with this device."

Earlier, the Government published a list of hospitals who were supplied with the hip joints. More than 80 private and NHS orthopaedic centreswere supplied with a total of 4,700 3M Capital implants between 1 August 1991 and 31 March 1997 when the device was discontinued. All implants are thought to have been used.

Patients fitted with the joints will be contacted by the hospital where they had the surgery and will be invited to have X-rays. Some people will need to have the prosthesis replaced and others will need to be carefully monitored.

Robin Turner, consultant manager for orthopaedics at Brighton Health Care NHS Trust, said they had already started to trace patients.

"When we have established the names of the 264 people who received this particular hip joint we will arrange for them to return to the hospital for a clinical check-up and X-ray. We anticipate that it will take two to three weeks to cross-check all the medical records to identify the patients concerned."

3M Health Care Ltd, based in Loughborough, could face a total bill of pounds 23m if all 4,700 patients need a revision operation costing pounds 5,000 a time.

The warning about the hip was issued after studies from three hospitals revealed that up to 21 per cent of these implants failed within five years compared with the national average of 10 per cent 10 years after the operation.

worst affected hospitals

Hospitals with 50 or more recorded implants:

England: Lancaster Moor Hospital (Garnett Clinic) 515

St Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight 504

Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham 292

Southampton General Hospital (Pharm Stores), Southampton 272

Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton 264

Princess Margaret Hospital, Swindon 252

Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Lancaster 249

Kidderminster General Hospital 247

Bassetlaw District General Hospital, Worksop 239

Scarborough General Hospital 189

Westmoreland County Hospital, Kendal 175

Lancaster and Lakeland Nuffield 129

Princess Alexandra, Wroughton, Swindon 120

Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital, Mansfield 112

Lord Mayor Trelear Hospital, Hampshire 111

Sussex Nuffield Hospital, Brighton 89

Devonshire Royal Hospital, Buxton 84

BUPA Chaleybeate Hospital, Southampton 78

Royal Halifax Infirmary 76

Conquest Hospital, St Leonards on Sea 72

Duchess of Kent Military Hospital, Catterick Garrison 51

Wales: East Glamorgan Hospital, Pontypridd 75.

Gwynedd Hospital, Bangor 59.


Between 50 and 60 implants mostly at Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow

Northern Ireland: None recorded