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Radiotherapy is bigger scandal than anything at tribunals – Ó Caoláin

17 September, 2007

The news that the delivery of the promised radiotherapy centres for cancer patients will be delayed by a further eight years has been described by Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson and Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin as "a bigger scandal than anything before the tribunals and a damning indictment of the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and their Government colleagues who are presiding over this disgrace".

Deputy Ó Caoláin said today, "Cancer patients are being denied life-saving treatment because successive governments have failed to provide the radiation oncology facilities that are required. This dire need has been recognised for many years and the Government has had ample time and a booming economy to plan and budget for the provision of radiotherapy centres.

"Now we find that the plan for delivery of centres by 2011 is in chaos. The Government committed itself to public-private partnerships (PPP) to deliver them. Then it was found these would take too long. Then a review was ordered. Now we find that the delay to 2014 or even 2015 allegedly cannot be avoided. The current plan is itself inadequate and leaves the northern half of the country with totally inadequate provision. Now even this flawed plan will not be delivered as promised. This is a complete shambles.

"Lives are being lost because timely and easily accessible radiation oncology treatment is not available to cancer patients when and where they need it. Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach and Mary Harney as Health Minister have presided over this disgraceful situation. This is a bigger scandal than anything before the tribunals and a damning indictment of the Taoiseach and the Health Minister. They must take command of the issue and act immediately to ensure the delivery of these services directly by the State on time." ENDS

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