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Future of Kerry’s Cancer Services in Prof. Tom Keane’s hands

4 December, 2007

The future of Cancer Services at Kerry General Hospital now lies in the hands of the newly appointed Director of the National Cancer Control Programme Professor Tom Keane. According to an email from the General Manager of Kerry General Hospital Margie Lynch to North Kerry TD Martin Ferris, Prof. Keane will oversee the transfer of all major cancer treatment to eight designated Specialist Cancer Centres or so called Centres of Excellence.

Ms. Lynch also told Deputy Ferris that the delivery of services such as oncology/chemotherapy will continue to be delivered at a number of agreed locations linked- under protocol - to the new centres.

Responding to this Deputy Ferris said:

"It is clear from the response I received from Margie Lynch that the future of our cancer services is now in the hands of Professor Tom Keane. The reply also indicates that the HSE want to remove local cancer services by 2009 in favour of the so called centres of excellence. However, considering the shambolic nature of the HSE I would have little faith in believing that these centres will actually be in place and functioning properly by 2009. It is therefore essential that Kerry is not left without its services if the HSE cannot deliver on its own target dates.

"I would also argue that the excellent level of services that are currently being delivered at Kerry General by Dr. Tom McCormack and his team should be linked to the new centre in Cork. I fully support the idea of setting up Specialist Cancer Centres where knowledge, expertise and resources are pooled to give patients the best treatment that is humanly possible. However, I have yet to see an argument to convince me that a patient would be better off travelling from the further reaches of Kerry and Limerick to a centre in Cork to get treatment that could be delivered as effectively in Kerry General Hospital. And for many patients whose illness has gone too far, the comfort of having their families close by is far more important than any treatment.

"I sincerely hope that Prof. Keane will seriously consider this when he is deciding the faith our Cancer Services. ENDS

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