Breast cancer report shows HSE failed patients
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, in response to the reports on the breast cancer scandal in the Midlands, stated:
“The Fitzgerald report highlights the weakness of management and governance in the process of review following the exposure of the misdiagnosis of women in the Midlands. It states that ‘the needs of the patients potentially affected receded’. It speaks of ‘systemic weaknesses of governance, management, and communication for dealing with critical situations’.
“This is a most damning admission. It is doubly damning when the Minister states in her response that she has asked the Board of the HSE whether lessons arising from these systemic failures have wider implications across the HSE.
“Minister Harney’s commitment that this will not happen again cannot be taken seriously in the light of her failure to address the scandalous waiting times of up to 18 months for vital cancer tests such as colonoscopy as exposed earlier this week.
“People throughout the country were appalled at the plight of the women who were given the all-clear after breast cancer screening in the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise but who were later diagnosed with cancer. These reports show that the Health Service Executive cannot shirk their responsibility for this situation. The HSE is directly responsible for public hospital services. It has a duty to ensure that proper standards are maintained.
“It was disgraceful for HSE Chief Executive Professor Brendan Drumm to try to shift the blame for this situation onto the people of Portlaoise and the Midlands because, like people in other regions, they have opposed any threatened downgrading and loss of services at their hospital.
“This Midlands cancer scandal has exposed the overall lack of coherent policy and planning at Government and HSE level. For example, Professor Drumm and Minister Harney have publicly disagreed on whether radiation oncology should be delivered through the public or the private system.
“What is needed urgently is comprehensive cancer care provided in the public healthcare system and available to all based on need alone, regardless of ability to pay and without discrimination based on geographic location. Nothing less is acceptable.” CRIOCH