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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Breast ops for servicewomen
implant
Four servicewomen have had the operations
At least four women have had breast enlargements at a military hospital since the start of the year, it has been revealed.

The Ministry of Defence - which paid for the operations - defended them as "medically necessary".

However, the decision to allow the operations to go ahead has been condemned as "ridiculous" by Conservatives.

The four women had their operations at the Royal Hospital Haslar in Hampshire, the MoD confirmed.


This government seems to be squandering money on things that will have little effect on fighting capability

Iain Duncan Smith, MP, shadow defence secretary
A spokesman for the ministry said: "We are not treating our servicewomen any differently than they would be treated as civilians by the NHS.

"These are only done for medical reasons not for aesthetic reasons.

'Psychological reasons'

"If they have got some sort of deformity or psychological reasons these are taken into account and it is only done if recommended by a doctor."

The spokesman said that no central records of the number of such operations existed - so the final tally could be higher.

Conservative shadow defence secretary Iain Duncan Smith MP said: "This is happening at a time when money is short in the armed forces and there are shortages in soldiers, air crew and ships' equipment.

"This government seems to be squandering money on things that will have little effect on fighting capability even if they enhance morale."

Earlier this year it was reported that the Italian army was concerned that the breasts of women recruits were too large, and they were hampering their ability to complete obstacle courses.

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