At present, patients who had the implants put in privately can have them removed on the NHS, but not replaced. MPs have said that this stance “flies in the face of common sense”.
As a result, this currently means that patients currently have to undergo two operations for replacements, which has an economic and health impact. MPs in the Commons Health Committee have called on the NHS to instead adopt a system of remove and replace in one operation, with a charge for the latter.
This would see patients paying around £1,500 for replacements, unless their private clinic agreed to cover the costs.
Many say that the option of just one operation, even if paid for on the NHS, would lead to more women feeling confident enough to go through with the procedure.
However, other health ministers are concerned that asking patients to pay for NHS services could “set a precedent” for the future.
Health Minister Lord Howe said: "I understand that the prospect of two operations is difficult and distressing for women, but it is a founding principle of the NHS that people don't pay the NHS for treatment.
“The responsibility for this sits squarely with private providers."
All of this has come out of a review into these implants ordered earlier this year, after several reports of particular implants bursting or leaking, leading to unregulated silicone entering the bloodstream.
It is thought that around 47,000 women in the UK currently have these implants, 95% of them fitted privately.