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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Arts Editor: The Great Character Actors of Football

David Lister
 

What I saw on the night my husband was hit by a car

Rebecca Armstrong
Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players