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Resources must be made available to expedite review of chest x-rays and CT scans in North East – Ó Caoláin

20 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD today secured a debate on the adjournment of the Dáil on cancer misdiagnoses in the North East area. Speaking during the debate Deputy Ó Caoláin said there must be full disclosure of all the facts relating to the reviews of thousands of chest x-rays and CT scans in the North East HSE region.

He said, "I have here one of the letters sent out by the Health Service Executive to thousands of people in Cos. Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath. It was received by one of my constituents in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan. At the best of times this woman is prone to anxiety and stress. We can only imagine her distress when she read this letter. She now faces two months living in fear and trepidation as she awaits the outcome of the review of her case.

"One of the first things that must be done by the Minister for Health & Children is to provide the resources to expedite the reviews and shorten the agonising waiting time for patients.

"Some letters from the HSE have actually arrived months after the person in question has died as a result of cancer, greatly adding to the grief of their loved ones. The HSE originally said four people who were misdiagnosed had died but I understand this figure could be as high as ten.

"The Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney must ensure that complete and comprehensive information is provided, including by way of a public inquiry if necessary, on the systems failures that have led to this terrible situation for thousands of people in Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath.

"We need an explanation for the delay in acting on this matter after it first came to the notice of the HSE.

"Coming in the wake of previous cancer diagnosis reviews, all of this highlights the failure of successive Ministers, the Department and the HSE to ensure the delivery of the best care for all patients at all locations where cancer services are provided." ENDS

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