Mary Dejevsky: Removing faulty breast implants is imperative – but not at our expense

Notebook

Share

It's going to happen; just a question of when. I give it a week. Breast implants (or rather the removal thereof) will stop being an issue, and become a feminist issue. We'll hear about the inalienable right of every woman not just to improve herself in whatever way she sees fit, but to have the enhancement undone and the "procedure" underwritten by you, me, patients everywhere deprived of the latest drugs because the budget has run out, and the housebound forced to wait for new hips because the operating theatres are clogged.

Of course women with implants are worried; of course they want to know whether their implants came from PIP. Of course they want them out. But 90 per cent – that is nine zero, nine out of 10 – of implant operations in the UK are entered into voluntarily and privately, not for post-cancer reconstruction. You can be puritanical and condemn the number of such operations as reflecting vanity and social pressure. Or you can be sympathetic and argue that aesthetic enhancement has always been the way of the world and women should be free to spend their own money in whatever way they wish.

Whatever your view, though, it does not, and should not, follow that the rest of us have to pick up the tab when something goes wrong. The obvious recourse is probably closed. The company no longer exists, and the claims against it will be so high as to make it unrealistic to expect any recompense. Next stop: the surgeons who were using PIP implants because they were so much cheaper than other people's. If their clinics kept records and discovered, or could have discovered, that the failure rate was worse than with other brands, they have a case to answer.

If not, however, you can choose to blame inadequate regulation – always remembering that the opposite is the "nanny state" – the "cowboys" who flourish in this sector, or the women's heedlessness of the risks. And if it's regulatory failure you plump for, you should know that it wasn't the supposedly anti-women bias of the Coalition's cuts, but the last Labour government that halted funding for a national breast implant register.

I offer two suggestions, aside from – obviously – compulsory registration of all clinics. Legitimate cosmetic surgeons should set up a fund to help women pay for the removal of PIP implants; the NHS should not have to pay. And all those who go under the knife voluntarily, as well as their surgeons, should have to be privately insured. If you can afford £4,000 for implants, you can afford another £100 or so to insure against any risk that comes along. And if you don't, well, you're on your own.

A parting gift from 'The Iron Lady'

As – so it seems to me – the only woman newspaper writer not invited either to meet Meryl Streep in someone's kitchen or even to see a preview of The Iron Lady, I'm feeling a bit left out. But at least no one can accuse me of being suborned into plugging a film before the paying public has seen it. In fact, my advance response has little to do either with the supposedly "stellar" performance of Streep or the much-lauded directing of Phyllida Lloyd. (I'll judge that, thank you very much.) It is rather: what a damnably fortunate politician David Cameron is.

The soft-leftishness of many reviews so far means that compliments are generally coupled with fearsome warnings against romanticising the Thatcher years and ignoring the suffering – as though she was some sort of Eastern-Bloc dictator. I'm betting that what this film will unleash is a wave of nostalgia – for the lady herself, for strong leadership, for saying it like it is, for sticking to your principles, for not having your policies watered down by focus groups, for tough love and the best of British. All this gives Cameron the chance of his premiership. All he needs now is a worthy vision, quick.

m.dejevsky@independent.co.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd end the war on drugs

Patrick Hennessey
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected