Donegal group calls for more cross border health services

Health ministers tour new North West Cancer Centre

Staff Reporter

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

Call to further develop cross border health services in the north west region

Jim O'Donnell and Noelle Duddy, CCC(NW) pictured with health ministers Simon Harris and Michelle O'Neill at the North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin.

The governments on both sides of the border have been called on to further develop cross border health services in the north west region.

The call was made by Donegal cancer services campaign group  Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest at  a joint ministerial visit of the North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry by Northern Ireland health minister Michelle O’Neill and the Republic’s health minister, Simon Harris.

The £50 million cross-border cancer centre opened in Derry in November.

“Members of CCC(NW) have long campaigned for this much needed facility to treat cancer patients in the North West Region of this Island, ending for the majority of radiotherapy patients in Donegal the very stressful journeys of travelling to Dublin or Galway. It has taken many years for this project to reach its end goal and it's fantastic that treatments have commenced,” the group said.

Donegal TD and minister for state Joe McHugh also attended the tour of the new facility.

“I want to pay tribute to all those who campaigned for this centre over many years and who can now see the end result,” he said.

“There are nursing staff from Gaoth Dobhair and others parts of Donegal now working at the radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin and that is an important part of the care being delivered.

“Patients from Donegal are getting a first class service from highly-trained professionals using equipment which is world-class.”

Minister McHugh spoke with Minister Harris at today’s tour about enhancing services in Letterkenny University Hospital as well as more cross-Border services where appropriate.”

Donegal Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn described the centre as "a victory for people power".

"Today is a proud day for the cancer campaign groups in Donegal and Derry. They told their harrowing stories of having to travel to Galway, Dublin and Belfast and rightly said that this had to stop.

“They said that the people of Donegal, Derry and the North West deserved equality of access to cancer care and they campaigned vigorously for our peoples rights.

They have demonstrated what can be achieved when our people and our governments work together."