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NHS pays £200,000 in damages following Implanon failures

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More than a thousand complaints about a contraceptive implant have led to the NHS paying out almost £200,000 in compensation in the most seriously affected cases.

1,607 complaints were received by the medical watchdog Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in relation to Implanon, a popular contraceptive device. However, 584 women who had the hormone treatment implanted into their arms complained of unwanted pregnancies or being injured.

NHS Trusts were ordered to pay seven women compensation payments totalling nearly £200,000 after the device which releases hormones into the bloodstream was incorrectly inserted causing it to be ineffective in preventing the women becoming pregnant.

Some of the women who experienced failed implants had pregnancies terminated while others suffered relationship breakdowns as a result of unwanted pregnancies, a Channel 4 news investigation discovered. 

A Department of Health investigation found that inadequately trained staff were being used to administer the contraceptive device to women, shifting the blame from the device itself to the NHS Trusts who fitted it in women. According to fertility experts, when fitted correctly Implanon is more effective in preventing pregnancy than the contraceptive pill or condoms.

Successful claims for compensation included one made against a Primary Care Trust for pain and suffering endured which was settled for an undisclosed sum.

Other claims were made due to psychological damage, and for permanent scarring of the arm sustained upon removal of the implant.

It is as yet unclear whether the failure of Implanon was due to medical negligence or issues to do with the product itself. Implanon has since been replaced by an upgraded product, Nexplanon, which is claimed to reduce insertion errors and can be picked up in X-rays and CT scans.

A statement on the website reads: “The Department of Health has advised that there is no need for concern. Implanon still has a good record of safety and effectiveness, and there is no need for existing users to have their implant removed or replaced ahead of its usual replacement time. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your GP for further information.”

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Anyone who has suffered an unwanted pregnancy or adverse effects from the use of Implanon can contact a Pearson Hinchliffe personal injury solicitor for further advice using the details provided below.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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