Dáil Éireann - Volume 459 - 12 December, 1995
Written Answers. - Breast Screening Programme.
Miss Harney Miss Harney
 75. Miss Harney asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, he has to announce specific details of the first phase of the national breast screening programme; if this programme will be general practitioner led; if not, the nature of involvement by general practitioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18169/95]
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East) Michael Noonan
Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): It is my intention that the first phase of the programme will commence as soon as possible and will cover the Eastern, North-Eastern and Midland Health Board areas. It will target 120,000 women in the age cohort 50 to 64 which represents 50 per cent of the national target population.
As I have pointed out on previous occasions, the development of a comprehensive population register is a necessary first step in expanding the programme. To this end, officials of my Department are currently in consultation with the Department of Social Welfare with a view to the compilation of a population register for breast screening purposes.
As the Deputy will be aware, the decision to proceed on a phased basis is guided by the need for the achievement of acceptable compliance levels among the target population; on-going evaluation of the programme from a quality assurance perspective; and availability of the necessary clinical expertise to conduct the programme.
It is vital that the phased introduction of the breast screening programme should take cognisance of these critical success factors. In this regard, my Department is liaising closely with the pilot programme personnel and other relevant agencies to agree the operational details, including a start-up date for phase one.
It is proposed to put in place a national management structure which will oversee the programme. This structure would be representative of all  appropriate clinical disciplines, including general practitioners. It will be primarily a matter for the management group to make detailed recommendations on the role of each discipline in implementing the programme.
Dáil Éireann 459 Written Answers. Breast Screening Programme.