Advertising of cosmetic surgery must be reviewed – Buttimer

Thursday, 18th December 2014

  • Issue of unregistered practitioners of cosmetic surgery considered by Health Committee.
  • Advertising and regulation of cosmetic surgery must be reviewed and changed.

The advertising and regulation of cosmetic surgery must be reviewed as a matter of urgency and ultimately changed to protect people.   Under the current regime the regulation of medical procedures is divided between numerous bodies.  There is a need to examine if all of these strands can be brought together in the interests of patients.

It was truly shocking to hear at the Oireachtas Health Committee an example that a person with skin cancer was offered and underwent laser treatment in a beauty salon.  Needless to say the procedure was ineffective and that proper medical treatment was still required.  It is completely unacceptable that rogue operators can offer ineffective treatments for serious medical conditions.  Action is needed so that those who are putting people’s health and lives at risk can be held responsible and prevented from continuing with their dangerous activities.

The way medical procedures are advertised is also a serious issue.  Every medical treatment is serious and carries risks Advertising that trivialises treatments and makes it appear like any other consumer product potentially misleads patients.  Financial inducements, ‘two for one’ deals and celebrity endorsements are not appropriate methods for advertising medical procedures.  These practices can result in people undergoing unnecessary procedures without fully considering all consequences.

Medical procedures must be regulated in a way that places the patient’s needs front and centre.  We must ensure that patients are suitable for the procedure and aware of the risks involved, that the practitioner is properly trained for the procedure being offered and that treatment takes place in safe premises.  Unfortunately this does not always happen.

Posted under Health, National Work

Health Committee Publishes Report on Concussion in Sport

Image of Front Page of Report on ConcussionWednesday, 17th December 2014

  • Committee calls for a coherent strategy to reduce the risk of injuries from sports concussion
  • Taskforce on Sport and Concussion needed to develop uniform guidelines and a consistent approach

This morning the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children published its Report on Concussion in Sport. Having held hearings with medical experts, sports organisations, players representatives and policy makers the Committee has called for the development of a coherent strategy to reduce the risk of injuries from sports concussion. Any sportsperson experiencing or diagnosed with concussion should be immediately removed from play, regardless of pitch-side assessments. And sporting organisations, schools and medics need to do more work to roll-out standard guidelines on Return to Play rules.

In recent years, high profile and very serious concussion incidents across a number of sports both at amateur and elite level have underlined the extent of the problem. As a country, if we don’t have a coherent strategy on sports concussion, we will put the lives of our sports stars at risk. This Report seeks to chart a practical way forward to reduce these risks. For the first time in Ireland, our Committee sessions allowed key experts to come together to discuss this issue in a public forum. We were particularly struck by the willingness of all Irish sporting bodies to invest in measures to reduce the risk of concussion and brain injury.

Concussion can be fatal, especially if a player is left in a game and sustains a second impact, or Second Impact Syndrome. Concussion can often have longer-term effects, with some evidence suggesting that repeat concussions can lead to early onset dementia.

As a Committee, we are particularly concerned at recent developments in Irish sport. The pace of games can be far more intense, while players are getting heavier and the number of tackles is increasing. Although some progress has been made in recent years, it was also very clear from the testimony that sports concussion is a growing risk, particularly for schoolchildren and amateur sports men and women.

More could be achieved by all of the stakeholders pooling their expertise to work together on a common strategy across Government Departments, sporting organisations and educational institutions. Hence the call for a cross disciplinary government-sponsored task force to draw up a robust response aimed at reducing these injuries.

In its Report on Concussion in Sport published this morning, the Committee highlights the increased risks of concussion and brain injury, as a result of developments in professional and amateur sports.

The report recommends the establishment of a Taskforce on Sport and Concussion to develop uniform guidelines and a consistent approach to how we handle brain injury in sport. The Committee recommends that the Taskforce include medical experts, brain injury advocates, sporting bodies, youth organisations and government departments so that a coherent strategy can be rolled out.

The report finds that concussion in children needs to be managed differently than adults, with implications for school and amateur sports.

The Committee urges the application of the Zurich 2012 Statement on Concussion across Irish sports at all ages.

The report also suggests that state funding for sporting organisations should be linked to the completion of sports concussion training courses for referees, medical professionals and coaches.

The Concussion in Sport report recommends that the Taskforce:

  • consider what measures should be taken by the IRFU / GAA / FAI and other disciplines to develop a joint educational and awareness programme to improve awareness of sports-related concussion;
  • devise standard guidance on concussion diagnosis and Return to Play protocols for players, parents, coaches, medics, schools and sporting organisations;
  • make recommendations on rule changes in sporting disciplines to minimise the impact of sports-related concussion. For example, the report recommends that the Taskforce should consider measures to relax rules on substitution for concussed players;
  • make recommendations on the use of helmets and other protective headgear in certain sports;
  • examine how to standardise Return to Play advice to children and young people across the public / private school systems and between sporting codes, and
  • assess how the compulsory recording of sports-related concussion incidents in schools and sporting activities involving children, in line with Health and Safety and Child Safety standards, would be achieved.

Given the gaps in knowledge in the area, the Committee is also urging more research on sports and concussion in Ireland. International co-operation to pool data would be the best way forward.


Posted under Health, National Work, Sport

Decision on marriage equality in May – Buttimer

Tuesday, 16th December 2014

  • Marriage equality referendum will take place in May 2015

We now have five months to plan for the marriage equality referendum and what will hopefully be a landmark day for social equality in this country.

The announcement today by Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD,that the marriage equality referendum will take place in May 2015, is really welcome. The announcement of the date will focus minds on the issues and what needs to be done to get this over the line. We now know we have five months to plan a really good campaign resulting in what will hopefully be a landmark day for social equality in this country.

What does a good campaign look like in this context? It must be persuasive and convincing. Despite the strong poll showings for the yes vote so far, there is no room for complacency here.

Talk to your friends, your family, your colleagues and neighbours, and explain to them why equality for all is for the betterment of society as a whole.

I am immensely proud that this referendum has been brought forward by this Fine Gael/ Labour Government. However the hard work is only starting now. We must be fully committed to this campaign and leave no stone unturned in explaining the importance of a yes vote. I truly believe the referendum will be passed and that Ireland will be lauded across the world as a leader in social justice and equality.

Posted under Justice & Equality, National Work