Co-operating for Cancer Care North-West have met with officials from the Western Health & Social Care Trust at Trust Headquarters, Altnagelvin Hospital to discuss the proposed business case for the North West Radiotherapy Unit.
Noelle Duddy, spokesperson for CCNW, said the meeting was very positive and stressed the importance of people working together on both side of the border in Donegal and Derry.
“We had an in-depth meeting with Trust officials in which details of the proposed business case for the NWRU were discussed. We were both encouraged and impressed to learn of the depth of commitment by officers of the Trust to ensuring that the NWRU will happen.”
“We feel that it is important for us to highlight to the public that as a region, the North West is co-dependent on populations on either side of the Border to provide the ‘critical mass’ to safely provide a radiotherapy service to cancer patients.”
“There has been some concern in some quarters in Donegal that Donegal patients may be treated as “spare capacity” in the proposed radiotherapy unit.
“During the meeting Trust officials refuted this idea and strongly reaffirmed what Minister McGimpsey told us when we first met him in January 2008. He reassured us that all cancer patients, regardless of which side of the border they lived on would receive the same high quality and standard of treatment – all patients would have equal access to treatment according to their clinical need. The CCCNW remains confident that this is the case.“
“Indeed, it is important for the public to know that approximately one third of the patients who will attend the proposed Unit will be from Donegal and the surrounding areas and in recognition of this fact, the Irish Government is committed to providing a capital contribution to the Project. In addition, the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) will contribute to the operating costs of treatment for patients from the Republic. The Department of Health and Children and the NCCP have representatives on the Cross-Border Sub-Group, the Project Board and the Service Design and Workforce Planning Sub-Group for the development of this Project.” The NWRU is a cross border project.”
“Although CCC(NW) acknowledges that both Ministers of Health have difficult budgetary decisions to make, we remain confident that both Ministers consider this project a key priority. As we face elections in the South, we are also confident that opposition parties support this project.”
“CCC(NW) is however frustrated by the delay in approving this business case and believe that in the best interest of cancer patients, it is now essential that the business case is approved immediately keeping any ‘slippage’ of time to complete this project by autumn 2015 to a minimum. We are in contact with both Departments of Health asking them to clarify when the business case will be approved.”
“CCC(NW) remains confident that both Letterkenny General Hospital and Altnagelvin Hospital are working together, in partnership to develop clinical pathways for patients so as to provide a world class radiotherapy service for cancer patients in the North West Region. We believe North-South cooperation for this radiotherapy unit is a win, win situation for everyone: for cancer patients; for healthcare professionals; for research & development; for politicians and for the tax payer on either side of the border.”
Those present at the meeting included: Elaine Way, CEO, WHSCT; Joe Lusby, Deputy CEO, WHSCT; Margaret McIvor, Project Manager for Radiotherapy Unit, WHSCT; Paula Cunningham, Head of Service Planning, WHSCT; Jim O’Donnell, CCC(NW), Gweedore; George & Margaret Friel, CCC(NW), Buncrana and Noelle Duddy, CCC(NW), Culdaff.