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New regulation for cosmetic surgery clinics on the way

James Reilly is working on legislation which will provide for mandatory licencing of health providers, including cosmetic surgeries.

PiP implant victim Jenny Brown poses with her ruptured implants after having them removed a few months ago.
PiP implant victim Jenny Brown poses with her ruptured implants after having them removed a few months ago.
Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

NEW LEGISLATION being prepared by the health minister Dr James Reilly will see cosmetic surgery providers operating in Ireland face mandatory regulation for the first time.

A Licencing of Health Facilities Bill, to be published by the end of the year, will include cosmetic surgeries in its list of all public and private healthcare providers which require licencing before they can offer public services.

The minister’s proposals are intended to ensure that healthcare providers operated to a minimum standard, and to improve patient safety and public confidence in the healthcare system.

In response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael backbencher Mary Mitchell O’Connor, who had asked how cosmetic surgery clinics could be regulated in light of the recent scandal about the defective PIP breast implants, which were found to have been filled with industrial silicone.

Reilly said the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) was in discussions with EU and international colleagues regarding testing of PIP implants, and advised any woman who had concerns about the implants they had received to seek clinical advice.

Currently the IMB is responsible for the surveillance of medical practices, but does not have any role in regulating the devices which can be put on the market anywhere in the EU once they have been certified by a notified body.

Irish law currently requires all healthcare professionals to register with a relevant professional regulator, though the new legislation will also require medical practitioners to have adequate clinical indemnity insurance.

Mitchell O’Connor said the regulation of cosmetic surgery practices was a welcome move, “especially by the women of the PIP Action Group who have been campaigning for full and proper regulation of the industry”.

The impact the PIP implant scandal has had on women who have undergone breast augmentations is immeasurable. In some cases the women still have not been informed by their clinicians as to what type of implant was used during their procedure.

They have told me they are in a living hell, with their implants compared to a ticking time bomb and that they feel like they are being passed from pillar to post.

Read: Surgeons call for ban on cosmetic surgery ads >

More: Former head of breast implant company PIP arrested in France >

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