‘Serious concern’ still remains over breast unit say DACC

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The chairperson of Donegal Action for Cancer Care, Betty Holmes, said they have “serious concern” that the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar did not mention the centralisation of the referral process at Letterkenny Hospital’s breast unit when giving assurances over Letterkenny Hospital.

Minister Varadkar has stated that cancer services will remain at the hospital and will also be strengthened.

He added the services available at the hospital at present will not be downgraded and he is fully committed to improving the cancer care unit at the hospital.

Mrs Holmes welcomed the Minister’s comments and commitment, stating they were “delighted” to hear that services are to be strengthened.

She added that Donegal Action for Cancer Care will attend a follow-up meeting in Dublin on August 20th with the Department of Health on issues raised at a previous meeting earlier this year.

Mrs Holmes said that while these were all positive developments, DACC still had concerns that Minister, in his comments, did not make reference to the centralisation of appointments at the breast unit, something which is of huge concern to them and to people across the county.

She said his comments had led many to believe that the service was not to change, but this confirmation was not fully forthcoming.

She pointed out that Letterkenny General Hospital was previously a leader in Ireland in relation to prostate services, which were transferred to Galway as a rapid access clinic.

“In my opinion, the same thing is happening with the breast clinic,” she said.

Mrs Holmes said they have been in close contact with Tony Canavan, chief operating officer with the Saolta Group and the Minister’s advisor and wished to acknowledge this. She said DACC now loom forward to their meeting.