An insurance scheme for patients who undergo cosmetic surgery could soon be introduced, following the recent breast implant scandal.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, who is leading a government review into the risks from faulty breast implants, told the BBC the scheme would protect consumers.
Around 40,000 women in the UK received implants manufactured by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), which were filled with non-medical grade silicone.
Although there is no clear evidence PIP implants cause harm, the government has said anxious patients who had their surgery on the NHS will be able to have the implants removed and replaced free of charge.
If there is a clinical need, the NHS will also pay to remove, but not replace, implants if a private clinic refuses to do so or no longer exists.
The Harley Medical Group, which fitted PIP breast implants to almost 14,000 British women, and Transform are among the private firms which have refused to replace the implants for free, despite the government saying private clinics have a moral duty to look after their customers.
Sir Bruce, who is medical director of the NHS, said the scheme under consideration would be similar to the insurance protection scheme in place in the travel industry.
He told BBC Radio 4’s The Report: “One of the things that my review will be looking at will be something rather like the Abta arrangement that travel agents have, which means that if an organisation runs into trouble the consumer is covered.”
Companies pay a subscription to become members of Association of British Travel Agents, which provides a fund for people to fall back on if something goes wrong.
Sir Bruce said this model “captured the flavour of where we want to go”.
A breast implant registry could also be reintroduced to record details of all operations, it was reported.