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 recordedReuse content