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Sinn Féin demand North West Regional Cancer Centre

15 April, 2008

Foyle MLA Martina Anderson, speaking in a Sinn Féin sponsored Assembly debate on Cancer services in Foyle has said that there should be no constraints in a regional cancer facility for the North West.

Sinn Fein Assembly members also recognised Donegal Councillor Padraig McLochlainn who has pushed for a Regional Cancer centre for the North West.

Ms Anderson said:

"While everyone understands the merits of the Belfast Cancer Centre as a centre of excellence there is no reason why cancer treatment and care services cannot be provided in a local setting at either Altnagelvin Hospital or Letterkenny General.

"It is intolerable that local cancer patients are subject to long journeys and prolonged stays a long way away from home when either of these two hospitals could easily house an Oncology Unit to meet the present demand for the full range of cancer treatment services in the North West region.

"Given the prevalence of all forms of cancers in the North West region, and the fact that it has the highest cancer mortality rates in the Western world, the local provision of these oncology services should be a priority.

"Some form of new all-Ireland configuration - as suggested this week by Sinn Fein in its meetings with health ministers North and South - would justify an oncology unit for the entire North West, serving both West Ulster and North Connacht instead of very ill patients from this region being forced to undergo the additional burden of repeated and prolonged journeys to the only existing units in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway.

"Cancer Services is one of the 5 key demands in the Stand up for Derry Campaign. Thousands of people have signed a petition supporting the campaign.

"If the political will exists North and South, then the provisions in the Good Friday Agreement, for seamless healthcare means there should be no constraints in a regional cancer facility for the North West." ENDS

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