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Case for North West Cancer Centre accepted but 2015 timeframe is unacceptable

11 March, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty says that he now believes that the case for developing a Satellite Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin has now been conceded in principle by the Departments of Health North and South but says that there is no reason why the people of the north west should have to wait until after 2015 before this Centre becomes operational.

Pat Doherty said,

"In a written question to Health Minister Michael McGimpsey, I asked for an update on progress with his Ministerial counterpart in the 26 counties Mary Harney about the development of a Satellite Cancer in the North West since they last discussed the issue at

"In response, Michael McGimpsey said that he asked service commissioners to take forward the development of a business case for an increase in radiotherapy provision in the six counties that would ensure sufficient capacity to meet demand from 2015.

"He went on to say that an initial assessment of projected cancer incidence conducted by the Department suggests that a combination of radiotherapy services in Belfast and a satellite radiotherapy centre in Altnagelvin would best meet the needs of people in the six counties beyond 2015 and that the business case for this would be informed by his Department's ongoing discussions with Mary Harney's Department.

"While I now believe that the Department's of Health, North and South, have now accepted in principle the case for a Satellite Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin the people of the North West should not have to wait until after 2015 for the Centre to become operational if the political will exists to make it happen within a much shorter timeframe.

"Sinn Féin believes this envisaged timescale to be unacceptable as the incidence of cancer in the North West already justifies the development of a Satellite Cancer Centre in the region and we will be pressing for the timeframe set out by Michael McGimpsey to be radically re-assessed to reflect the current need for this essential service." ENDS

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