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Mulherin’s bemoaning of cancer services ‘astounding’

Mulherin’s bemoaning of cancer services ‘astounding’

FG TD’s criticisms are late in the day for Rose Conway-Walsh

Anton McNulty

A Mayo County Councillor has described Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin’s bemoaning of the shortage of beds in Galway for cancer patients as ‘astounding’.
Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway-Walsh was responding to comments made by Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin who claimed that cancer patients in Mayo are being denied access to services in Galway University Hospital Centre of Excellence due to the lack of beds.
Deputy Mulherin said this was creating a ‘two-tier cancer treatment system’ with cancer patients in Mayo General Hospital unable to receive the specialist services in Galway. She said that the Centre of Excellence format was not working if beds are not available.
“The problem has to be addressed. Otherwise the Centre of Excellence concept is a farce insofar as it concerns these patients,” she said.

Long-standing problem
In reaction to Deputy Mulherin’s comments, Cllr Conway-Walsh said it was ‘astounding that Fine Gael TDs in Mayo are only now becoming aware of the shortage of beds for cancer patients in University College Hospital Galway’.
“Since at least as early as 2010 the shortage of beds for Cancer patients in Galway has been a problem. Patients with very aggressive forms of cancer have had their procedures delayed because there has not been beds available for them. The two main issues are, firstly, the unacceptable delay in getting an appointment to get procedures done and, secondly, scheduled procedures and operations having to be cancelled at the last minute because there is no bed for them to recover,” said the Sinn Féin councillor.
As part of the cancer care strategy introduced by the former Minister for Health, Mary Harney, eight centralised cancer-care centres or ‘Centres of Excellence’ were formed in the country, with UCHG designated as the centre to cater for much of Connacht. As a result, and despite large-scale protests at the time, breast-cancer services were transferred from Mayo General Hospital to UCHG.
Cllr Conway-Walsh said that the centralisation of services has not been positive for rural areas, and she said that Fine Gael Minister Dr James Reilly, was implementing the same strategy as Mary Harney.

‘Insult to patients’

“It is an insult to the patients and families that have had to endure the physical and psychological pain caused by the uncertainty of securing beds and scheduling their treatment to now learn that those responsible for government policy have only now become aware of the situation.”

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