Thousands of people who underwent hip replacement operations are being contacted following the disclosure that some of the prostheses are defective.
Over 4,700 patients were fitted with the 3M Healthcare product between 1991 and 1997. But a quarter of 3M joints have worn loose within a two year period, eroding the healthy bone in the process.
Hip replacements are normally expected to last for around 20 years.
3M Healthcare has pledged to cover the cost of corrective surgery for those patients affected by faulty joints.
Almost 90 NHS and private hospitals fitted the faulty artificial joint during the six year period. And now 3M has struck a deal with BUPA, allowing patients the choice of being treated in a BUPA hospital, regardless of where the original surgery took place.
Costs could reach £23 million.
Dr Richard Spiers, 3M’s medical director, stressed that the customer’s welfare was the company’s primary concern after this discovery.
“We believe this action is in the best interests of those patients for whom a revision operation proves necessary.
“Patients will be treated quickly at a BUPA hospital, thus reducing the time they will have to wait for their operation, and, hopefully, their anxiety. It will also prevent any additional cost falling on the NHS.”
Providers such as PPP Healthcare and Prime Health have promised to make the initial payment for their customers’ treatment and then seek reimbursement from the manufacturer.