LONDON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The British healthcare system says it's paid about $3.2 million to remove Poly Implant Prothese -- silicone -- breast implants because private clinics won't.
Officials at Britain's Department of Health said 607 women who had operations with private doctors -- not at the taxpayer paid National Health Service -- were forced to turn to the NHS to have implants removed after their clinics refused -- of these 384 have already had the surgery, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
However, more than than 7,000 have approached the NHS in total and more than 5,000 have had appointments with doctors and scans to establish if the implants -- which used industrial silicone -- have ruptured, the Department of Health reported.
The costs were expected to increase as the women already in the pipeline work their way through and if more women come forward. Around 47,000 British women are believed to have been given implants.
Last January, the British government said women with the PIP breast implants on the NHS would be able to have them removed for free, and private clinics and practices were expected to offer the same deal, The Telegraph said.
But, some private clinics no longer existed and others refused to remove the implants, so the Department of Health said any woman refused help by a private company clinic or doctor could access NHS care, but the government's universal healthcare system would only remove the implants, not replace them.
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