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HSE must put South-East cancer patients first – Cullinane

7 April, 2010

Waterford Sinn Féin by-election Candidate Cllr David Cullinane has reacted angrily to news that a new contract to treat public patients at Whitfield Clinic has not been put in place after the current contract ended. Councillor Cullinane said the HSE must put patients first and avoid a two-tier situation emerging where private patients are treated and public patients are not.

He said it would be “wholly unacceptable” and indeed “scandalous” if public patients are asked to hit the long road to Dublin when treatment facilities exist on our doorstep. He also re-iterated his long standing call for the full implementation of the National Cancer Strategy which includes provision of public radiotherapy services at Waterford Regional Hospital.

Cllr Cullinane said:

“This news is truly shocking and shows that patients are not being put first. It is completely unacceptable that we have arrived at this situation. It is the responsibility of the HSE to ensure that all patients have access to the very best health care. It is the responsibility of the HSE to ensure that all cancer patients have access to regional radiotherapy and cancer services. The HSE must sort out this mess and ensure that public patients have access to all cancer services available in the region.

“This situation again re-enforces the need for public radiotherapy services to be made available at Waterford Regional Hospital. A contractual arrangement with a private hospital is not the best way to deliver equality of access. We need holistic public cancer services at Waterford Regional Hospital. International best practise is that all three modalities of cancer care should be provided giving multi-disciplinary care.

“The short-term solution is for the HSE to sort out the situation at Whitfield. The real solution is for the Government to deliver on its promises and deliver the regional oncology centre of excellence promised under the National Cancer Care Strategy. It is unacceptable that private patients could be treated while public patients take the road to Dublin. There is no place for apartheid in health care or cancer care in a Republic.” ENDS

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