The Federal Government must fund a $2 million national breast implant registry following revelations it had been impossible to track down the thousands of Australian women with potentially dodgy implants, plastic surgeons say.
As part of its submission to the Federal Government’s inquiry into the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) implant scandal, the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons said less than four per cent of women with PIP implants had been recorded in the current “opt-in” system, which left thousands uninformed as the scandal surrounding PIPs exploded earlier this year.
The Society, in conjunction with Monash University, has developed a pilot opt-out Breast Device Registry over the last twelve months but wants annual government funding of $2 million to ensure it would be available to all Australians.
The registry would involve recording the details of every woman who receives a breast implant so she could be easily contactable in the case of any future problems.
ASPS president Associate Professor Rodney Cooter will present the findings from the pilot study at the Senate Community Affairs References Committee inquiry into the government’s role regarding PIP implants on Wednesday night. he said the registry would be the first of its kind in the world.
The moves for a national registry were supported by the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery in its submission, who believe it should be managed by Monash University and not any society or organisation “which may have or be perceived to have a vested interest”.
The Federal Government inquiry comes as more than 900 women across Australia with PIP implants, including almost 300 West Australians, prepare to file a multi-million dollar class action in the Federal Court through Tindall Gask Bentley lawyers.
TGB lawyer Tim White said the issue had impacted on the health and livelihood of thousands of Australian woman, the majority of whom had been implanted with PIPs between 2006 and 2009.
“So far more than 900 women have registered with our firm, and we will be telling the inquiry that many are experiencing similar symptoms and health concerns,” Mr White said.
“We will also report that most of these women have also told us that they have felt unsupported, and there has been a lack of communication and information about the PIP issue.”