State to fund removal of breast implants
WOMEN WHO had defective breast implants here may have them removed through the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) after the collapse of efforts to have treatment provided by the cosmetic surgery clinics that fitted them.
The Department of Health said yesterday that appropriate care on the scale required had not been forthcoming from the three clinics involved, despite intensive efforts by chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan and his staff.
As a result, the State will fund an alternative treatment service via the NTPF, which will include surgical consultation, radiology if required and removal of the implants if this is deemed necessary.
It said further details of the arrangement would be made known in September.
More than 1,500 women in Ireland were given defective implants manufactured by French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).
The implants were used mainly between 2001 and 2010, but some may have been implanted before 2001.
The department is specifically critical of one of the clinics, the Harley Medical Group, for failing to provide an appropriate care package for its clients, despite “clear pressure” from Dr Holohan’s office.
“The department is not satisfied that the Harley Medical Group will fulfil their obligations in an acceptable manner,” it said in a statement, and consequently it had been decided that necessary care should be provided by the NTPF route.
The Harley Medical Group declined to comment yesterday on the department’s statement.
The other two clinics which fitted the implants were Shandon Street Hospital in Cork and Clane General Hospital, Co Kildare.
Dr Holohan met members of the PIP Action Group on Monday and informed them of the change of approach. A further meeting is planned in September to discuss progress.
Separately, Dr Holohan and the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons have issued updated guidelines for people considering cosmetic surgery procedures abroad.
These counsel people to seek advice from their GP and to ensure that any work done is carried out by an appropriately registered plastic surgeon.
According to the department and the Irish Medicines Board, there is no evidence of increased risk of cancer for women with PIP implants, while the risk of rupture is low.