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4 October 2007 Edition

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All-island intiative on cancer care services for North West

In an all-island initiative Sinn Féin representatives from throughout the North West region presented a letter and petition of protest to Minister for Health Mary Harney and her Northern counterpart Michael McGimpsey on Wednesday over the continued failure of their departments to progress plans for a satellite radiation unit based in the North West of Ireland serving cancer patients on a cross border basis.
Senator Pearse Doherty who led today’s delegation said:
“Sinn Féin elected representatives from Donegal, Strabane, Omagh, Derry and Limivady are today taking part in an all-island action to highlight the continued lack of political will by Minister Harney to include the issue a satellite cancer radiation unit on the agenda of their North South Ministerial discussions.
“We welcome the impending meeting between Minister Harney and her northern counterpart Minister Michael McGimpsey but are sceptical that this meeting will amount to any delivery on the part of Minister Harney.
“Both Health Ministers have a joint obligation to undertake collaborative projects on a cross-border basis to the benefit of people on both sides of the border.
“The former NWNH in its submission to the National Review Body on Radiation Services (2002) estimated that between 1,999 and 2,398 patients would require radiotherapy by the year 2010, for the North West catchment area. This size of cancer care population should allow for a satellite radiation unit housing 3 to 4 linear accelerators.
“The approximate population of the region including both sides of the border is 500,000. This figure in itself justifies a satellite centre based on the Department of Health and HSE’s own guidelines.
“This provision is essential to redressing the disparity in access to cancer service provision on this island and we are today demanding that Minister Harney and Minister McGimpsey progress as a matter of urgency the development of a North West satellite cancer care centre.”
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