Thomas Pringle TD

WATCH: Pringle calls on Minister to appoint second Breast Surgeon at Letterkenny Hospital

Press Release – April 13th, 2017
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Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Pringle called on the Minister for Health to appoint a much needed second Breast Surgeon to Letterkenny Hospital, citing the failure by the National Cancer Control Programme to progress with the appointment.

“Letterkenny is in desperate need of a second Breast Surgeon to keep up with the demand and rapid accumulation of patients’ names on waiting lists. The Minister must intervene if we are to avoid delayed diagnosis of Breast cancer in the North West.
“I have spoken to consultants, patients and the Donegal Action for Cancer Care group directly on this issue for quite some time now yet the problem persists.
“The Breast unit needs enhanced resources to facilitate waiting times and not just a second Breast Surgeon but also radiographer support and infrastructural support for the consultations to carry out their work. None of this has been signed off by the NCCP. Previous Ministers and Area and Hospital Management are fully aware of the ongoing challenges yet the same problems persist and there’s a reason for this.
“HSE policy is to centralise breast services to centres of excellence, but the Breast outreach clinic in Letterkenny goes against this policy and therefore nobody will sign off on the necessary supports to cater to demand. I hoped to challenge this notion by calling on the Minister to directly intervene but unfortunately he has replied that the needs of Letterkenny are being assessed within the Department. This is despite an announced being made almost eighteen months ago that a second surgeon was to be appointed. This has gone on long enough and the Minister needs to come clean where the blockage is to the appointment of a surgeon and it is not enough anymore that more assessments are being made”.
“The department and the National Cancer Control Programme constantly claim that surgeons need to carry out a minimum number of surgeries each year to keep their skills up and have set the figure at fifty. This figure has no clinical or research studies to back it up and appears to be just an arbitrary figure in order to justify the delays. I understand that many of the surgeons around the country do not reach this level of surgeries yet they are maintained in post” concluded Pringle.

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