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

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

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jihadist militants leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, in June  

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Robert Fisk
India's philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist Vandana Shiva arrives to give a press conference focused on genetically modified seeds on October 10, 2012  

Meet Vandana Shiva: The deserving heir to Mahatma Ghandi's legacy

Peter Popham
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home