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Cautious welcome for new cancer services for Donegal patients in Belfast

24 October, 2006

Sinn Féin health spokesperson John O'Dowd MLA has cautiously welcomed today's announcement signalling the commencement of the start of a new service to provide radiotherapy services for Donegal patients at the Belfast Cancer Centre.

Mr O'Dowd said,

"This service will mean that around 50 patients from Donegal will have their treatment delivered at the Cancer Centre in Belfast as part of this cross-border co-operation between the two health departments on this island. However, the reality is that this service may not be sufficient to deal with all those cancer patients in the border counties who may wish to avail of this new service.

"While this is a welcome first step, rural communities throughout the North-west and those communities west of the Bann have witnessed a gradual erosion of health services within their areas.

"Both health departments must realise that the right to good and effective healthcare and access to health services are important rights which many within our rural communities value. I would like to see this service developed even further to ensure that real equality of access to first-class health care can be effectively made available for our rural communities." ENDS

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