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Cullinane secures Seanad debate on need for Oncology Unit at Waterford Regional Hospital

13 July, 2011


Waterford Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the Government to deliver on a clear pre-election commitment to build the proposed oncology and palliative care unit on the grounds of Waterford Regional Hospital. The unit was committed to by the previous Government but has not yet been delivered.

Senator Cullinane succeeded in securing a debate in the Seanad on the issue. In challenging the Minister to deliver the necessary funding he said it was regrettable that the unit was not included in the 2011-2015 capital programme.

Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Cullinane said:

“The people of Waterford have long campaigned for proper regional cancer services. The Southeast needs a dedicated multi-disciplinary oncology unit that provides all modalities of cancer care. This is the best way to provide best outcome for patients. The previous Government gave a clear and unambiguous commitment on this issue. The Government parties did likewise. It is now time to deliver.

“I am extremely disappointed with the Ministers response. The fact that the unit is not included in the 2011-2015 capital programme is appalling. Does this mean that patients in the Southeast will have to wait another 5 years before this is even considered?

“The proposed oncology unit is the single biggest priority for the HSE in the Southeast. It was to include a 20 bed in-patient palliative care unit. The Southeast with a population of 463,000 needs a dedicated multi-disciplinary facility. 1,300 patients in the region are seen by specialist community teams providing palliative care. Cork and Kerry with a combined population of 510,000 have 24 specialist palliative care beds. The Southeast with a population of 463,000 has two.

“I deeply regret that the unit is not part of the current long-term capital programme. This will result in further lengthy delays to this unit being built. I find this appalling as we are talking about cancer patients and their needs. I understand that a revised design brief is now being prepared by the HSE. I hope that when this is submitted it will be instantly prioritised and that we can move to having this much needed unit included in the capital programme and more importantly built.” ENDS

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