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Medical chief meets with PIP clinics over implants

THE Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health has met with the three clinics involved in providing the controversial PIP (Poly Implant Prostheses) breast implants in Ireland.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly confirmed that Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan had met with the three private clinics at the centre of the breast implant scare, the Harley Medical Group, Shandon Street Hospital in Cork and Clane Hospital in Co Kildare, last Friday.

The meeting is thought to have raised the department's concerns regarding the appropriate aftercare of the 1,500 women in Ireland who received the defective breast implants, which are made with substandard silicone.

When contacted by the Herald yesterday, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said that the department "was still in the process of meeting with the clinics concerned".

"Some of the clinics have been asked to revert to the department to address the concerns raised with them at the meeting.

"Once that information is to hand we may be in a position to provide further comment."

Last year, French researchers noted that the implants may pose a serious threat to women's health due to their higher incidence of rupture.

Sarita Clery (31) from Lucan in Dublin is just one of the women who had a breast augmentation operation at Clane Hospital 10 years ago.

She maintains that the Irish response to the concerns of women who have had the procedure here is very unfair.

The action group that she's part of is asking the minister for Health and the Government to support victims of PIP implants and hold responsible each clinic for its duty of care to each and every Irish patient with PIP implants.

"The scientific report from the top experts in Europe says they cannot guarantee there are no health risks until more testing is undergone on explanted implants," says Sarita.

"We ask that the surgeons and clinics involved provide all scans and tests necessary, remove all PIP implants, and offer replacement FDA-approved alternatives."

The Department of Health and the Irish Medicines Board are currently liaising with the EU Scientific Committee's Health Threats Unit, an expert committee set up last January, to maintain an up-to-date position on the PIP implant issue for all member states.