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HSE must prioritise recruitment of consultant oncologists to tackle delayed diagnoses - David Cullinane TD

25 May, 2021 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Minister for Health to ensure that consultant oncologists are prioritised for recruitment alongside specialties with high wait times.

He also called for funding and resources for cancer services to be boosted to catch up on the backlog of missed care and delayed diagnoses.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on all health services.

“Cancer treatment has reasonably kept pace and has rightly been prioritised with funding from Budget 2021, which we secured in cooperation with the Minister.

“There has been a drop in screening and diagnoses, however, due to the pandemic and now due to the cyberattack.

“Missed cancer diagnoses may have severe consequences for patients who could not access diagnostics at the right time.

“The Minister for Health must prioritise and ringfence additional consultant oncologists from the new posts, which were funded in Budget 2021.

“This will help to get through the additional burden that will come on the system with delayed diagnoses.

“Consultant oncologists and the Irish Cancer Society have been flagging delayed and missed diagnoses as a real threat to health in the coming years.

“This is underlined with a serious warning from Professor Séamus O’Reilly that delays in identifying, and consequently, treating, cancers could lead to increased mortality in the next few years.

“Cancer is, alongside cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the state.

“Because successful cancer care is time-dependent and in many cases very urgent, it is vital that additional consultant oncologists are brought on board to deal with the hidden missed care from delayed diagnoses.

“I will be launching a proposal document in the coming weeks that will include provision for additional resourcing and investment in boosting cancer care capacity including staffing, treatment, screening, and diagnostics.”

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