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Harley refuses free implant removal

The Harley Medical Group, which fitted PIP breast implants to almost 14,000 British women, has said it will not replace them free of charge.

The private firm fitted more of the implants than any other UK cosmetic surgery firm. It follows days of delay from the company in giving clear advice to women affected by the scandal.

The group claims replacing the banned implants would put it out of business.

Another private company, Transform, has also said it will not replace the implants free of charge. Earlier this week, it said it was reviewing its options but, as it stands, women will have to pay £2,800 to have the implants removed.

Around 40,000 British women received PIP implants manufactured by the now closed French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.

The Government has said anxious patients who had their surgery on the NHS will be able to have the implants removed and replaced free of charge.

The NHS will also pay to remove, but not replace, implants if a private clinic refuses or no longer exists.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley reiterated the Government's view that private clinics have a moral duty to look after their patients.

He also announced further investigations into the scandal, including looking at the EU approval of the devices which resulted in them receiving a CE mark.

The actions of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK will also be analysed further.