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Protest on cancer plan
[Posted: Wed 21/11/2007 www.irishhealth.com]
More than 200 people from the north west staged a protest outside Leinster House today against the planned downgrading of cancer treatment services at Sligo hospital.
Under the cancer services reorganisation plan, services at Sligo are due to move to University College Hospital, Galway.
Local TD and junior health Minister Dr Jimmy Devins said he would not be resigning over the issue.
Meanwhile, newly-appointed Director of the National Cancer Control Programme, Dr Tom Keane, will meet with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern today to discuss the implementation of the cancer services reorganisation plan.
Dr Keane is on secondment from the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Canada.
He said recently that in British Columbia, where she has been working, there are only four major cancer treatment centres there despite it being the size of France and Germany combined.
According to Dr Keane, if people are given a choice they would clearly choose having better cancer care outcomes, despite having to travel further for services.
There has been considerable local opposition to the Government's plan to centralise most cancer services in eight centres.
Health Minister Mary Harney and the HSE have stressed that cancer services must be concentrated in major centres with adequate staffing and patient numbers to ensure that high quality care is maintained.
Cancer patient and campaigner Lilly McMorrow from Co.Sligo said it was disappointing that the HSE and the Government has chosen to ignore the north west once again, and there are excellent cancer services at Sligo General Hospital.
The O'Higgins report on the reorganisation of breast cancer services, published in 2000, recommended 12 major centres, including a unit in Sligo that would take in the populations of Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and part of Mayo.
However, the new cancer plan has designated only eight centres to cover all cancers, including breasst cancer, and has excluded Sligo as a major centre.
Meanwhile, the results of the re-examination of mammograms of six women who were previously given the all-clear for breast cancer at Portlaoise hospital are expected later this week. A review of mammograms at the hospital has so far revealed that seven women who were previously given the all-clear were subsequently found to have breast cancer.
|nk Posted: 21/11/2007 20:07|
|Congratulations Niall Hunter, I wish, I wish our politician 's might absorb some of your good sense and more importantly your common sense approach to the cancer care strategy . The new and improved Mr. Keane will have his work cut out for him, and unless this country wakes up to the reality that a single health insurance group only.... is the way to go. then the madness will continue.|
|Miriam(FTQ66658) Posted: 22/11/2007 14:29|
|Niall Hunter, I was surprised with your comment on Primetime Tuesday night that confidence in the HSE is at an all time low because of things such as The Dept. of Health not following up on earlier concerns expressed about Barringtons Hospital. It certainly would not be the first thing that comes to my mind if asked about lack of confidence in the HSE. Surely the misreading of pathology results at pathology results at publicly funded hospitals, the misreading of Mammography in the Midlands which has led to nine women being belatedly diagnosed with cancer, the hygiene issue, Mrsa, A&E crises, underfunding, understaffing etc. in our public hospitals are the more glaring issues at the moment. As I understand it, other than the one unfortunate case of misdiagnosis in Barringtons which was the result of the test being read incorrectly at UCHG, any other allegations against the hospital are as yet, speculative pending the outcome of the review.a similar case is under review at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital where despite the prescence of a multidisiclinary team a sample was sent to Cork for analysis and then read and reported incorrectly. It seems to me that the delay in implementing the recommended centres of excellence would be a reason why many have lost confidence in the system, not the lack of follow up by the Department of Health allegations which seem to centre around lack of triple assessment/multidisciplinary team in one private hospital which was also lacking in other hospitals, both public and private.|
|bluebird Posted: 26/11/2007 01:52|
|Centres of Excellence in B.Columbia are just that, specialised cancer treatment centres and not units placed within existing hospitals. In my opinion we have one centre of excellence, specifically dealing with cancer treatment and that is St. Lukes Hospital in Rathgar. Why would you want to close St. Lukes. It has sufficient space to expand on its present site, it has been operation as a specific cancer treatment centre for years, has fully qualified staff and other facilities relevant to the treatment of patients. It is more centres like St. Lukes opened around the country we need, specialising in cancer care treatment. How could anyone consider transferring patients from St. Lukes Hospital to a unit in St. James's. God help us all because this health system is going no where. Any chance the valuable site in Rathgar on which St.Lukes stands might be appealing to some of the private sector in the health area.|
|Anonymous Posted: 26/11/2007 09:43|
|The expression 'Centres of Excellence' sound like spin to me. I mean at the moment we don't even have centres of mediocrity regarding cancer care. Aren't the proposed new centres simply centres of competence? Still, leaving the North west, which let's face it has worse than a 3rd world transport system, is simply unacceptable.|
|lady Posted: 11/12/2007 21:04|
|I live in the north-west and travelling for treatment and checkups are bad enough to Letterkenny without having to go to Galway. Why there are enough people in Donegal to warrant its own centre of excellence? it's not about numbers but people getting well and having family visit them when they are sick. If you live in Donegal and have to go to Galway how are people going to visit?|
|JamesH Posted: 13/12/2007 09:53|
|Lady, unfortunately it is in fact all about numbers. The research has shown the centres covering a population of half a million can potentially deliver a 20% extra chance of survival.|
|Anonymous Posted: 14/12/2007 09:01|
|So James,what do you suggest those in the north west, already ill and with a lousy public transport system, actually do, if they can't travel??|
|JamesH Posted: 14/12/2007 14:08|
|Anon 14/12. Yes I agree that travel is an issue. But in the event of the life threatening disease that cancer is, I certainly am willing to travel, if it will give me a 20% extra chance of survival. There will be a small portion of the population that are dependent on public transport and their needs will have to be catered for. The Irish Cancer Society is already championing this cause and I am sure that they will get more vocal if they see it is not being addressed. I agree that it will be difficult, but would you rather a lower level of care delivered locally or a higher level delivered at a smaller number of centres?|
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