Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jeremy Hunt: I will not tolerate British patients being put at risk

The Telegraph

Like many people, I was shocked and appalled to read in The Telegraph that a regulator in Europe said that it was “on the side of the manufacturer” when it comes to licensing products — such as hip replacements — for use in British patients.

9:57PM BST 23 Oct 2012

These words undermine everything I believe about the health sector in Britain. Anyone working in health care must always be on the side of patients, and patients – not profits – should always be the number one priority.
Hip replacements are so important because they can make such a significant difference to the quality of life of patients. Unfortunately, they have often hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in the past two years.
A brand of metal-on-metal devices was recalled after evidence showed they were not performing well enough. These implants were taken off the market, but yesterday, The Telegraph exposed a worrying and completely unacceptable weakness in the regulatory system which means, in theory, a device with similar problems could legally be sold in the UK.
I want to be absolutely clear that I will not tolerate British patients being put at risk. I have asked the regulator — the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) — and the British Orthopaedic Association to bring forward plans to do more to make sure patients can be confident they will get the highest quality of devices when they need them.
I can reassure patients that in this country we do not just rely on European approval before we use implants. Thankfully, we can be confident that approval by a European regulator alone would not mean a device finds its way into the NHS. We have our own checks and balances in place so the hip replacement mentioned in the Telegraph article yesterday would not automatically be used in the NHS.

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