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Botox and fillers for those under the age of 18 may soon be banned according to the Minister for Health.

Simon Harris claims the possible new restriction in theory would work similarly to the sunbed ban for minors.

According to Harris, certain companies and professionals are taking advantage of young people's desire for the perfect image, courtesy of social media sites like Instagram.

Doctors have also raised concerns about the increase in patients being admitted to hospitals following botched cosmetic procedures.

The Minister has requested that his officials assess the need to further regulate botox and fillers, such as a possible ban for minors. 

Concerns regarding filling material have also arisen, as it isn't categorised as a drug but as a medical device. This means that it can be bought online and used by someone without medical training.

Minister Harris expressed his concern over the consequences of this area going "unregulated or unsupervised".

A recent study by Therapie Clinic has shown that 68 percent of Irish people said that they already have or would consider getting a cosmetic procedure done.

In 2017, a teen health report showed that a shocking 72 percent of Irish young adults were experiencing body image issues. 

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As Minister for Health Simon Harris launched the first ever Asthma Awareness Week today, the Asthma Society shared some scary statistics about the illness.

Asthma-related deaths are on the rise, with one person in Ireland losing their life every five days as a result of closed airways.

Worryingly, two out of every three people with asthma do not have an Asthma Action Plan and are therefore at risk of a potentially fatal asthma attack.

Society is now calling on those suffering with asthma to get an Asthma Action Plan. Research was conducted after the troubling recent figures for asthma deaths were published, and are still on the rise.

Only 63 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed knew there was a 5 Step Rule for managing an asthma attack, and two out of three people with asthma haven't spoken to their doctor in the last six months. Three out of five people with asthma also don't use their inhaler all year round.

90 percent of people with asthma don't carry an Asthma Attack Card with them at all times, and 20 percent wouldn't know the six most common symptoms of an asthma attack, according to the Asthma Management.

CEO of Asthma Society, Sarah O’Connor, said: 

“It is truly frightening that asthma deaths are on the rise in Ireland. The survey results showed that, in the event of an asthma attack, most people wouldn’t know the necessary steps to take to save a life (the 5 Step Rule). 470,000 people in Ireland have asthma and 60% do not have their asthma in control, greatly increasing the risk of suffering a fatal asthma attack."

UK research into asthma deaths showed that having an up-to-date Asthma Action Plan made it far less likely that a person would experience a fatal asthma attack. Through Asthma Awareness Week, it is hoped that people nationwide will put an Asthma Action Plan into place.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said: 

“I am strongly supporting the Asthma Society’s campaign today, encouraging people to take control of their asthma. Asthma management is extremely important. It allows people with the condition to live a longer, healthier and happier life. I encourage everyone to put an Asthma Action Plan in place – it is the one of the best asthma management tools available.

"People with asthma can work with their GP or asthma nurse or phone the Asthma and COPD Adviceline for help to create their personalised plan on 1800 44 54 64.”

People with asthma should carry an Asthma Attack Card with them at all times. which details the 5 Step Rule for managing an attack and the symptoms and can be given to a member of the public. This card also contains the person’s emergency details including their next of kin.

Asthma Awareness Week will continue until Friday. To support the Asthma Society, text BREATHE to 50300 to donate €4. 

The society's free advice line is 1800-44-54-64 and don't forget to check their website for more information on managing asthma.

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 A 'Rats Out of the HSE' protest took place today outside the Department of Health's office in Dublin, following a leak of patient information.

The woman had legally obtained an abortion, but was then phoned and harassed by anti-abortion groups, according to TheJournal.ie

The protesters were calling for better protection of confidential patient information and for an external investigation to be launched after last week's data breaches.

Roughly 12 people took part in the protest at lunchtime, carrying placards and holding cut-out rat masks at Miesian Plaza.

A number of investigations were launched last week into the shocking claims.

A woman had an abortion at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, otherwise known as Holles Street, and was later verbally abused over the phone by a man who had somehow obtained her personal information.

On Friday, anti-abortion protesters stated that they were given information on when abortions were scheduled to occur at Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Councillor Éilis Ryan of The Workers’ Party has said the HSE needed to clearly explain the steps it had taken to ensure that staff were providing abortion services in a trustworthy, fair and transparent manner.

"It doesn’t seem that any thought was put into how to change the culture of our hospitals to ensure people who might have anti-choice feelings themselves are not biased in how they carry out their healthcare provision”.

Her worry regarding the ability of our healthcare services to adapt without bias is felt by many.

Health Minister Simon Harris has admitted that an internal probe will take place, but “given the scale of scandals linking to the HSE in recent years we don’t feel that an internal investigation can be trusted or is sufficient”, according to Ryan.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She feels that Gabriel Scally is trustworthy, after he carried out the Cervical Check screening programme review.

Simon Harris said on Friday  that it was “extraordinarily concerning and disturbing” that a patient’s details of her own abortion could possibly become public.

"The idea that anybody might leak a woman’s confidential information is reprehensible, it is grotesque, it’s disgusting and that is why I asked the HSE yesterday to investigate the matter and report back."

The HSE, the Dublin Well Woman Clinic, the National Maternity Hospital and the Data Protection Commissioner are apparently making inquiries regarding the apparent incident. 

Cover image: Twitter/@michelledevane

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Huge congratulations are in order for Simon Harris and his wife Caoimhe. The Minister for Health confirmed that they welcomed a gorgeous baby girl into the world.

The proud dad shared a series of images from the hospital and his darling girl is too cute for words. Just look at her little face.

Simon and Caoimhe looked as proud as punch as they cuddled up to their little girl in the heartwarming photos.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simon Harris (@simonharristd) on

Simon gushed about becoming a parent for the first time: “Today I take on my most important job – Dad!”

“Caoimhe and I are delighted to welcome our beautiful little daughter into the world,” he gushed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simon Harris (@simonharristd) on

The new dad added: “Name to follow! So happy. Who knew you could be so bowled over and blown away.”

People were quick to congratulate the doting parents who announced their pregnancy joy back in July.

One wrote: “Congratulations! She’s beautiful. Fun starts now.”

Another added: “Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby girl! Wonderful photos.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simon Harris (@simonharristd) on

“Congrats to you both Simon. Delighted for you. Hope Mum and baby girl are doing well,” one said.

Another replied: “Beautiful – congratulations Simon! Little baby & Leo Varadkar are birthday twins xx”

We couldn’t be happier for Simon and Caoimhe. We’re sure they’re going to pick the most perfect name for their tiny tot.

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There is an anti-abortion protest taking place outside Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth today.

Health Minister Simon Harris has spoken out against this at a press briefing, calling it ''quite sad.''

One of the protesters is Charles Byrne, who unsuccessfully challenged the outcome of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

He said that those protesting were a group of concerned citizens protesting because, “I deeply and profoundly care about the right to life of every human being…We are here because we believe hospitals need to be places of care through compassion.”

Minster Harris has also condemned a tweet leaking confidential information about an abortion due to take place today.

In response to a tweet from Economist Professor ray Kinsella, Simon said, ''I find it pretty darn despicable actually that somebody would take to social media – that anyone would take to social media and endeavour to create a public conversation about an individual patient's care.''

He continued, ''Any service that is provided legally here in our country deserves to be treated with absolute respect and the confidentiality of a patient must be to  the fore.''

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The helpline which was set up by the HSE to offer information on unplanned pregnancies to women was reportedly "busy but not overwhelmed" on it's first day yesterday.

The HSE set up the MyOptions helpline in order to act as the main referral path for women seeking abortion services.

On the first day of operation services available nationwide, 20 women sought an abortion according to GPs who have agreed to carry out the services.

The exact level of demand will not be known yet for another number of weeks.

The Irish Times reports that it will be next week at least until the first terminations can be carried out, as a result of the three-day 'cooling-off' period.

The first cases which were referred to doctors ranged from upwards of four weeks' gestation.

In terms of cases which are close to the 12-week limit, they will be facilitated with same-day appointments at the nearest maternity unit.

The flow of Irish women who are travelling to the UK for abortion services is expected to continue, though at a reduced level, as abortions over 12 weeks are not permitted under Irish law except under highly limited circumstances.

The Minister for Health will be notified of the amount of terminations performed within 28 days. 

A number of minor teething issues have arisen involving blood testing procedures and ultrasound provision.

Simon Harris has said;

“The level of preparedness varies, but the initial experience with the HSE’s helpline has been very positive."

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Dr. Rhona Mahony has pledged that women whose unborn babies have fatal foetal abnormalities will be offered terminations from January at the National Maternity Hospital.

As the hospital's master, Mahony made the claim after it came to light that some maternity hospitals and GPs won't be ready to begin extended abortion services from January.

A spokesman has said that staff are "working to ensure we have a full, safe and compassionate service in place as quickly as possible".

Dr. Mahony's spokesman continued;

"Notwithstanding the outstanding logistical issues, we expect to provide termination of pregnancy in situations of fatal foetal anomaly from January 1."

Minister for Health Simon Harris rejected implications that the January target for abortion services was aligned with politics, and has commented that this claim was 'offensive'.

He added that the services will not be available everywhere straight away, and that it needed time to embed and evolve with the help of clinicians. 

Yesterday, the Seanad continued with their debate on the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill.

Dr Sharon Sheehan, master of the Coombe hospital, has commented that her new system of service won't be ready by January.

She said; "To ensure the provision of "safe, high-quality, sensitive and compassionate care for women", it is essential to have the finalised legislation in place, an agreed model of care nationally and national clinical guidelines.

She continued;

"There has been extensive work, and that is continuing to proceed at a pace, but they are not ready and we now have only 20 days before this service is to be introduced.

"In my opinion, the country is not ready, and therefore the Coombe is not in a position to deliver these services from the January 1."

The Rotunda maternity hospitals spokeswoman commented that;

"Rotunda Hospital will be complying with enacted legislation providing the appropriate model of care, resources and funding is in place to enable a safe service provision to women".

The Irish Family Planning Association has also said that an exact date of availability for abortion services cannot yet be offered;

"We are still working on a number of outstanding issues. We're working to resolve them as quickly as possible and we're making good progress. We won't delay in providing abortion care once that's done".

The Irish College of General Practitioners and the Institute of Obstetricians are set to meet today for the discussion of clinical guidelines which are seen as essential for doctors.

A 24/7 helpline will hopefully be advertised by the HSE once the legislation is passed for guiding women, GPs and hospitals.

Feature image: BusinessPost.ie

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