The GPC has urged GPs to ignore guidance from surgical associations asking them to examine patients affected by the PIP breast implant scandal, and instead refer patients for review in secondary care.
The Chief Medical Officer advised GPs in a letter last year that they would be the first port of call for concerned patients and issued guidance on what symptoms to look for.
But the GPC has now advised GPs to refer all PIP breast implant patients to a consultant breast surgeon for review.
The latest GPC newsletter says: ‘Following the advice given last year in a letter by the CMO (England) and in the report by Sir Bruce Keogh that NHS patients who have decided against having an PIP breast implant explanation should have an annual follow up by their GP, the GPC has highlighted concerns in a number of meetings and letters.’
‘Although the advice in the guidance from the surgical associations remains unchanged, and still suggests that GPs need to see all those women who have a PIP implant annually, the GPC advice would be to refer any eligible patients to a consultant breast surgeon for review. This view is also shared by the Department of Health.’
‘Carrying out PIP breast implant reviews are outwith a GP’s remit and should a patient attend a practice and the GP feel assessment of their implants is outwith their skills and experience, they should be referred to secondary care.’
A review into the scandal, led by Sir Bruce Keogh, concluded that PIP implants were significantly more likely to rupture or leak silicone than other implants.
The guidance to GPs from the CMO stated that GPs consulted by patients with PIP implants should explore the patients’ symptoms and examine the breast and locoregional lymph nodes.