The GPC has written to the chief medical officer calling on her to retract instructions that GPs should carry out annual checks on women who have had PIP breast implants.
Dame Sally Davies wrote to all GPs earlier this year telling them that any NHS patient who had received the PIP implants and had chosen not to have them removed should be followed up on an annual basis.
This would include women whose private surgeon was either ‘no longer in business, or was unwilling to help’.
The GPC has now replied to the CMO to say that this work would not be part of the GMS contract, and that GPs are not trained to assess breast implants. The GPC said patients should be referred to breast clinics instead.
GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron Nash, said: ‘This whole episode is an illustration of how GPs are just expected to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong.
‘The fact that this letter was sent out without prior discussion with GPs was unhelpful and we would have liked the advice to have been that patients who are concerned should go to see the surgeon who carried out the work.’
Dr Una Coales, a GP in Stockwell, South London, also criticised the CMO’s letter: ‘A physical examination is not reliable, so this kind of annual check is not something for GPs to do.’