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Regional Cancer Centre for Northwest must be priority of Governmental Cancer Consortium

13 November, 2006

West Tyrone Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty says the establishment of a Regional Cancer Centre for the northwest part of Ireland must be a priority for the Cancer Consortium announced today between both governments and the US.

Sinn Fein has been to the forefront of the campaign for the decentralization of Cancer Services to the North West and speaking about the announcement made in Belfast today said,

"I very much welcome today's announced agreement by the respective governments to intensify and enhance co-operation in relation to cancer control on an all-Ireland basis.

"One of the central issues that that the Consortium will have to address is the continuing disparity in accessing cancer care services because the configuration of cancer care service provision has been distorted as an result of partition.

"All-Ireland configuration would justify an oncology unit for the entire North West, serving both West Ulster and North Connacht instead of very ill patients from this region being forced to undergo the additional burden of repeated and prolonged journeys to the only existing units in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway.

"It is intolerable that cancer patients are subject to these long journeys and prolonged stays along away from home when there are two local hospitals (at either Altnagelvin or Letterkenny) that could house an Oncology Unit to meet the holistic needs of cancer patients in this part of Ireland.

"The provision of a Regional Cancer for the Northwest is a priority issue for Sinn Fein and we will be continuing to pressurise both governments that it also must become a priority for them if they genuinely want to address the disparity in access to cancer service provision on this island. ENDS

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