I would like to again introduce myself as the Solicitor who is now heading the PIP team, my name is Amie Pinnell and I would like to thank you all for your assistance in updating the PIP team with their enquiries over the last few months.
I am pleased to confirm that we are making progress with your claims.
Claim Against Surgeons or Group Litigation Order
We have now obtained information from most of you in respect of who your surgeon was and whether they made any specific recommendation to you on the type of implant they would be using etc. If you were unable to remember your surgeon’s name and did not have any paper work to confirm it we will soon be sending out a list of potential surgeons to see if you can recognise their name. It has been essential to gather this information to enable us to advise you as to how best to proceed with your claim. The team and I are now going through a final analysis of the information assimilated and are obtaining a barrister’s opinion before we will contact you all individually to advise you of the options available to you and how best to proceed with your claim.
The potential options will be pursuing a claim directly against your surgeon under the law of contract and negligence or to join the group litigation. The deadline for joining to group litigation remains the 8th April 2013 and we will ensure that you are contacted and advised to enable you to register should this be the recommended course of action.
Unfortunately, in some cases it may be that we are unable to pursue your claim. However, this is only likely to be a very minimal number of you and we will advise you of other options available.
NB. If you have not yet responded to the further enquiries we made regarding your surgeon etc. I would ask that you do so as a matter of urgency to ensure that we can advise you of the best course of action.
April 2013 Changes
As from the 1st April 2013, there will be a change in the law relating to the way in which personal injury claims are funded. Whilst they will still be done on a No Win No Fee basis, it is likely that Claimants could lose a percentage of any compensation they are awarded if they are successful with their claim. For our existing clients, this is not something which you have to worry about as we are already acting on a no win no fee agreement (CFA) with you. For anyone who looks to start a claim after 1st April 2013 this will affect them. I would therefore just ask that anyone who is wondering whether or not to proceed with their claim takes this into account.
I have also been taking steps to ensure that you all have the appropriate policy of insurance in place as this may not be available after 1st April 2013. I have been in further contact with an Insurance provider, ARAG, who has agreed to provide cover for your claims. This insurance is necessary to ensure that you are protected from having to pay any costs in the event that your claim is unsuccessful. It is this insurance which enables us to act on a no win no fee basis and so it is extremely important to have in place. I hope to have confirmation of the policies being set up in the very near future and will provide further information on this when it is received. I have also been in discussions with the barrister who has been advising on your cases and am in the process of entering into no win no fee agreements (CFAs) with him for each of you before the changes in April 2013.
Several of you made enquires about joining the French Action following information from the PIP Action Campaign. It was as a result of this that we wrote to each of you notifying you of this in January to enable you to join, should you have wished to do so. Unfortunately, as we explained it was not something which we were able to offer advice on as it falls under French Law. We would be interested to hear from anyone who did join this action of any progress which is made.
The Future of Cosmetic Surgery
The call for better regulation of cosmetic interventions including cosmetic surgery continues and the report from Sir Bruce Keogh is expected in March following his investigation into the industry. The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) have come forward in support of tighter regulations and have issued a new set of Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice which it is hoped will be taken into account in Sir Keogh’s review.
Also, the law relating to the regulation of medical devices, such as breast implants is currently being revised at European level. TheUK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are involved in these changes and believe the following key areas should be improved:
- The insufficient clinical evidence relating to the safety and performance of a device before it is placed on the market;
- The imprecise and variable post-market surveillance by manufacturers;
- The need for traceability of devices to improve vigilance and post-market surveillance; and
- Greater coordination and transparency.
These changes if introduced should prevent something like the PIP scandal from happening again and it is without doubt that it is largely as a result of the hard work and lobbying from the affected women that these changes are now being made.
We are moving forward with your cases and will be contacting each of you individually over the coming weeks to advise you of how best to proceed. We hope to soon have insurance in place and to have secured the barrister on a CFA for each of you. Once we have insurance and have spoken with you, we will then be in a position to move forwards again.