Minister Joe McHugh TD, attended the site visit today at Altnagelvin Hospital with Health Ministers Jim Wells MLA and Leo Varadkar TD, where they visited the new cardiology service and inspected the site of the new Radiotherapy Unit which will treat patients from North and South.
Minister McHugh said, “I would like to commend the cross border work that both Departments of Health in the North and South have been engaging in over the last decade, leading to the further progress of services at Altnagelvin Hospital, and to the benefit of the surrounding communities, especially Donegal.
“Construction of the new Radiotherapy Unit commenced last year and is due to open to patients in 2016.
“The Unit will provide radiotherapy treatment to the vast majority of patients in Donegal and the North West region and will lead to a reduction in travel times, with both patients and their families and friends benefitting from the treatment and quality of care.
“I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work and efforts of local groups who have been raising the need for this service over the last decade, including Noelle Duddy and the Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest, CCC(NW), who have played a key role in helping to ensure that these services are provided.
“The Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PPCI) service at Altnagelvin, which is part of a region-wide cardiology service, commenced on 15 September 2014. PPCI, often known as angioplasty, is a non-surgical procedure used to treat coronary heart disease.
“The PPCI service at Altnagelvin has already benefited patients in Northern Ireland and has potential to help patients in the Republic of Ireland living in County Donegal.
“The model of service provision recommended ensures that patients from the North West who require PPCI, will receive the treatment within 90 minutes of having a STEMI-type heart attack, where possible.
“70 people have a STEMI in Donegal each year and they will now have access to PPCI treatment in Altnagelvin.
“The Irish Government is making a capital contribution of €19m towards the total radiotherapy project cost of around £66m, and they will also make annual payments for the provision of services to people from the Republic of Ireland.
“When fully operational, the Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin will be able to treat approximately 1,150 Northern Ireland patients and 385 Republic of Ireland patients each year.”