Clarity required on provision of radiotherapy services for W.R.H.
Sinn Féin Waterford City Councillor David Cullinane has called on Health Minister Mary Harney and the H.S.E. to immediately clarify how and when radiotherapy services will be provided at W.R.H. He said there is massive confusion around the issue not helped by Harney's mixed responses to Dáil questions. Cllr Cullinane was responding to a Dáil question submitted by Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asking the Minister to outline how it was proposed to deliver radiation oncology services in the region.
Cllr Cullinane said:
"The recent news that some public patients will be treated at Whitfield Clinic is a most welcome advance for cancer patients in Waterford. I also welcome the commitment to build a radiation oncology centre at W.R.H. It is good news that this is being provided through the public service and needs to be delivered as quickly as possible. However what is not clear is how and when radiotherapy services will be provided in Waterford."
"Responding to a Dáil question by Sinn Féin National Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin on how radiotherapy services will be delivered at W.R.H., the Minister sends mixed messages and seems to suggest that it will be provided as part of a new radiation oncology centre at the hospital.
In fact in her response to Mr. Ó Caoláin's question Ms. Harney states 'It is my objective and that of the HSE to see the earliest delivery of the National Plan for Radiation Oncology' an she continues 'In the interim, a service level agreement was signed on 1 February between the HSE and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Whitfield Clinic in County Waterford. ' This will support the referral of public patients for radiation oncology treatment pending the commissioning of the radiation oncology centre at WRH."This reply raises more questions than it answers. Mary Harney is a master of ambiguity and creating confusion. What cancer patients in the Southeast need is clarity, straight answers and time-frames for delivery."
334. Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the way it is proposed to deliver the promised radiation oncology facility in Waterford City; if this will be through the construction of such a facility in the public system and as part of Waterford Regional Hospital or if it will be in the private sector as part of the private hospital co-location plan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4692/07]
Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The development of radiation oncology at Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH) is an integral part of the Government's National Plan for Radiation Oncology. This will be part of a major oncology development at WRH, including the provision of a 20 bed oncology day ward. The Health Service Executive (HSE) has advised that it is not intended to provide this development under its co-location initiative at the hospital.
It is my objective and that of the HSE to see the earliest delivery of the Plan in the best interests of cancer patients throughout the country. In December last year I met with the Chairman and Chief Executive of the HSE and discussed the timelines for the delivery of the National Plan. The HSE is examining options to speed up the pace of delivery and will make recommendations to me shortly. In the interim, a service level agreement was signed on 1 February between the HSE and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Whitfield Clinic in County Waterford. This will support the referral of public patients for radiation oncology treatment pending the commissioning of the radiation oncology centre at WRH.
New Question Submitted 14-02-07
To ask the Minister for Health and Children if it is proposed to provide public radiotherapy services on-site at Waterford Regional Hospital as part of the HSE's plan to build a radiation oncology facility there; if radiotherapy will be delivered on-site within the proposed major oncology development at WRH; and if she will make a statement on the matter. - Caoimnhghín Ó Caoláin.