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Cancer services must be returned to Sligo General Hospital – Doherty

17 February, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Senator Doherty said:

“The removal of cancer care services from Sligo General Hospital to Galway has been detrimental to the people of Sligo and South Donegal and has resulted in sick people having to travel the long distances just to receive treatment.

“I am aware that since diagnostics were moved to Galway, some patients are waiting up to six weeks for their first diagnostic appointment which is usually the first of a number of tests carried out to assess the patient and a necessary course of treatment. These tests used to be carried out in a single day in Sligo. Patients who received letters in November advising them of the move to Galway were still waiting for their appointments in January. It is unacceptable that patients who received letters in November advising them of the transfer of services to Galway are still waiting on appointments in January. This runs against everything promised by the National Cancer Strategy.

“There is also utter confusion around the issue of follow-up care. Some time ago Minister Harney made a commitment that patients from the North West who had treatment in Galway would be permitted to have their follow-up appointments in Sligo. This never happened and it now seems that patients in Sligo are to have their follow-up examinations in the mobile Breast-Check clinic which I believe is unsuitable for patients recovering from an operation.

“The Minister has indicated that this is only a temporary measure and is in place due to staff shortages, however I want a commitment from the Minister that this is indeed temporary and she should give a timetabled plan as to when appropriate provision will be made in Sligo General Hospital for patients who have undergone surgery using the equipment and multi-disciplinary team that currently exists in that hospital.

“The people of the North West deserve to be treated with respect and to be given the level of care that they need. The fact that people have to travel long distances for treatment, wait 6 weeks or more for a diagnosis and are denied appropriate aftercare is a scandal. Sligo cancer services should never have been withdrawn and should be returned as a matter of urgency.”

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