03/15/2012 03:02 pm ET Updated May 15, 2012

UK: 7,000 more women fitted with faulty implants

LONDON (AP) — Britain's health ministry says an additional 7,000 women were fitted with potentially faulty French-made breast implants, raising the total in the U.K. to about 47,000.

The ministry said Thursday that the new cases follow confirmation by French authorities that implants manufactured before 2001 by the now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP, also may have contained non-medical grade silicone.

Previously, authorities had said that only implants made by PIP after 2001 were affected.

Britain has said women given the implants by the public National Health Service can have them removed for free, and that private surgeries should offer the same deal.

Those denied help by private clinics will receive a free assessment and possible treatment.