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Minister and HSE should implement HIQA recommendations on breast cancer services

16 July, 2008 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for the speedy implementation of the recommendations of the Health Information and Quality Authority's (HIQA) investigation of breast cancer services.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"This report highlights a series of missed and delayed diagnoses for cancer and identifies serious flaws in the manner in which cancer services have been delivered. It is essential that the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney and the Health Service Executive act speedily to implement the recommendations of the HIQA report.

"It is farcical that the justified complaints of patients had to be the subject of two separate investigations, one into Barrington's private hospital in Limerick, where tests were taken, and the present HIQA investigation into the HSE-funded University Hospital Galway (UHG), where tests were analysed. This is because, as HIQA itself points out in the Report, under the Health Act 2007 HIQA can only investigate HSE-funded services.

"The law needs to be changed and HIQA must be given the power to investigate healthcare provision in both the private and public sector.

"This HIQA report also undermines the Government's oft-repeated praise for the 'public-private mix' in our health services. It has led to poor co-ordination and a lack of standardised procedures. The report shows that the arrangement for reporting pathology specimens between Barrington's Hospital and UHG was informal and based on long-standing private arrangements between individual clinicians.

"I welcome especially the Report's recommendations that reliance on temporary staff should be minimised, that recruitment procedures for consultants should be more rigorous and that independent advocacy services for patients should be developed at all hospitals." ENDS

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