Cancer groups from Donegal have described a meeting with Health Minister Simon Harris as very positive with another meeting to be held in two weeks time to discuss the ongoing cancer services at Letterkenny University Hospital.
Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest, CCC(NW), and Donegal Action for Cancer Care, (DACC) met with Minister of Health, Simon Harris, T.D., representatives from the Department of Health and from the National Cancer Control Programme, (NCCP).
Senator Padraig MacLochlainn also attended as Minister Joe McHugh is currently in the States he could not attend while all other Donegal Oireachtas members forwarded their apologies.
The purpose of the meeting was to follow up on progress regarding the retention and development of cancer services in Letterkenny University Hospital with particular reference to breast cancer services.
Both Minister Harris and Jermone Coffey, Director NCCP fully acknowledged the sterling work of the Breast Team in LUH.
They also acknowledged that a sustained solution to the difficulties experienced by LUH would be the appointment of a second breast surgeon based in LUH, they have committed to resolving this issue.
In the short-term action will be taken to provide extra clinics to address the escalating waiting lists for women awaiting appointments to see the breast surgeon. The NCCP and Saolta will arrange these.
Minister Harris has instructed that a meeting to include CCC(NW); DACC; NCCP; Saolta and Donegal Oireachtas members be held in the next couple of weeks in LUH to further discuss cancer services in LUH.
A further Department meeting to include all stakeholders will be re-convened in July/August to evaluate progress made.
Following the discussion had during the meeting, CCC(NW) and DACC are cautiously optimistic that Minister Harris and the NCCP will actively engage with Saolta and the HSE to finally resolve the difficulties experienced by breast services in LUH and the patients it serves.