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Minister Reilly must act urgently on North West cancer care – Ó Caoláin

23 March, 2011 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the postponement of plans for the promised new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry is a “critical setback for cancer services” and he urged Health Minister James Reilly to take immediate action to avert this postponement.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The announcement by Six-County Health Minister Chris McGimpsey that he has postponed plans for a new radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry is a critical setback for cancer services. Five years ago Health Minister Mary Harney signed an agreement with the authorities in the Six Counties to promote co-operation in cancer services. Altnagelvin was crucial to this with the planned radiotherapy facility there to be made available to patients from County Donegal.

“Access for Donegal patients to Altnagelvin would be essential given the failure of the Irish Government’s cancer care plan to provide any radiation oncology centre north of a line from Dublin to Galway. Now we find that this arrangement is to be nullified as a result of budgetary cuts imposed by the British government in London and health budget decisions made by Health Minister Chris McGimpsey.

“Once again decisions by remote Ministers and bureaucrats in London, Belfast and Dublin are depriving people in the Border Counties of vital health services.

“I urge Health Minister James Reilly to act urgently to try to avert this postponement.” ENDS

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