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What NHS help is available for PIP Implants?
If your PIP implants were put in by the NHS – perhaps you had reconstructive surgery, breast asymmetry or another medical condition – then you are one of the ‘fortunate’ 791 (as fortunate as any PIPette in this mess!) eligible for fully funded NHS removal and replacement. Your hospital should have already contacted you. If not, make an appointment to see your GP or speak to your Primary Care Trust to get the ball rolling.
Befriend Your GP
For the remaining 46,253-odd ladies with PIPs implanted privately (see the DoH Statistical Press Release), the extent of NHS help varies. If you are hoping for support via the NHS, your first port of call should be your GP. It really is worth getting them on-side if possible as you will need referrals; both for scans and, later, for NHS-funded treatment. Referrals can mean the difference between having to foot the entire bill yourself and getting some help. GPs should treat PIPettes with dignity and empathy. Unfortunately, not all of them do; some ladies report reluctance even getting scan referrals from their GPs if they had private surgery originally.
If you do manage to get scans and these reveal problems with your implants (ruptures or gel bleed) you are much more likely to get help from your GP and the NHS, especially if your original private provider has gone into liquidisation or refuses to take responsibility. The NHS is just starting to accept extreme anxiety as a legitimate ‘critical case’ too so if you are particularly stressed or depressed because of your PIPs, talk to your GP about this. Don’t expect things to progress quickly via the NHS route unless you really are a bona fide medical emergency: there are thousands of women all desperate for funding so waiting lists are huge.
NHS PIP Implants Offers
Currently, the NHS only offer Removal and Replacement for their own original PIP patients. A funded Explant is the best available to ladies who do receive the elusive referral to the NHS, requiring a later second op. privately if you still want implants. Your GP might provide a referral to an NHS centre for a full R&R at a subsidised rate if you are considered a ‘critical case’ and your original provider is either AWOL or rejecting liability. Local Primary Care Trusts can sometimes help with funding, following much the same terms. Applying to the Trusts can be a real Postcode Lottery, however, with some areas much more generous than others. They claim this is due to issues of workload and staffing rather than budget. With either option, expect long waits and to still be paying around £1500. Your replacement implants will be on a ‘like-for-like’ basis and you may not get much input to their brand or style.