A cancer campaign group says capital funding is vital to ensure that Letterkenny General Hospital is made an acreddited colorectal cancer screening centre.
Noelle Duddy of Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest says the hospital is making good progress in meeting its targets to achieve full accreditation for colonoscopies but capital funding is also required.
She explained: “CCC(NW) is pleased to learn from Management at LGH that it is performing very well in reducing its waiting lists for routine symptomatic colonoscopies and is confident that it will be able to meet National Cancer Screening Service’s targets of patients being seen within 13 weeks from time of referral by the end of September, the date when the 13-week target commences.
“However, in order for LGH to achieve Joint Advisory Group, (JAG) accreditation, the Endoscopy Unit needs to be upgraded. Management in LGH are in the final stages of preparing a submission to the National Capital Programme. It is expected that this bid will be submitted later this summer. Management is optimistic that the bid will receive a favourable response and that once the bid has been accepted work will commence to upgrade its colonoscopy facilities to satisfy the NCSS standards and, following this, Letterkenny will be awarded full accreditation as a screening colonoscopy unit.
“In order to reduce the number of Donegal patients who may have to travel to have this procedure performed at other hospitals whilst LGH awaits accreditation, CCC(NW) stress that it is imperative that Letterkenny’s capital bid is approved by the Department as a matter of urgency so that the screening colonoscopy unit can be upgraded and accreditation awarded. CCC(NW) asks all our public representatives to strongly lobby DoH, HSE and NCSS to fast track Letterkenny’s capital bid when it is submitted to the Department.”
According to the NCSS, it plans to initially make the programme available to men and women aged 60-69 in 2012, phasing in other age groups until it achieves its target of screening a population aged between 55 – 74 years.