Campaigners for cancer services in Donegal said Health Minister Leo Varadkar and the Saolta University Health Care Group have given them a firm commitment regarding strengthening systematic breast cancer services at Letterkenny General Hospital.
Donegal Action for Cancer Care (DACC) and Co-operating for Cancer Care North West (CCNW) issued a joint statement on the commitment after what they called “a robust meeting” held last week with the minister and related offices. The campaigners said it was also agreed that Saolta would continue with internal dialogues “to advance support to Letterkenny services and integration within the dedicated cancer unit”.
Noelle Duddy of Co-operating for Cancer Care North West (CCCNW) said the group was satisfied that Saolta and the department, “are going to be working to ensure that cancer services are supported in Letterkenny General Hospital.”
In a statement issued after the meeting, Minister Varadkar said, “We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the breast care unit at Letterkenny Hospital is strengthened and that it continues to provide the best possible care for patients into the future.”
CCCNW and DACC met on Thursday with Minister Varadkar, Minister of State Joe McHugh and with senior members of the department, Saolta, Letterkenny General, the Health Service Executive and National Cancer Control Programme.
The meeting was a follow-up session to evaluate progress on actions to develop and progress Letterkenny breast cancer services since the last time the parties met in February. Donegal campaigners said all at the meeting recognised that Letterkenny breast services require additional supports, and agreed on the quality of services that the Letterkenny breast team provides.
Minister McHugh also confirmed Saolta’s commitment to continue to strengthen Letterkenny General’s symptomatic breast cancer services, “and provide additional supports, with the overall aim of enabling the services provided by the Unit to be sustainable in the long term”.
The groups are expected to meet again before the end of the year.