Dáil Éireann - Volume 517 - 05 April, 2000

Written Answers. - Cancer Treatment Services.

73. Ms Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals, if any, he has to reduce the number of breast cancer units originally planned for under the national cancer strategy; the units it is proposed to axe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9494/00]

210. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals, if any, he has to [882] reduce the number of breast cancer units originally planned for under the national cancer strategy; the units it is proposed to axe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10204/00]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): I propose to take Questions Nos. 73 and 210 together.

As the Deputy is no doubt aware, substantial developments have taken place throughout the country in recent years in the care and treatment of patients with cancer. Since the launch in November 1996 of the National Cancer Strategy and the action plan for its implementation in March 1997, some £41 million of dedicated funding has been allocated to develop cancer services nationally. Significant developments have taken place in the area of specialist consultant appointments with appointments being made in the areas of medical oncology, haematology, histopathology and palliative care. The National Breast Screening Programme has commenced and the pilot cervical screening programme is at an advanced stage of development. I intend to build on the developments in the area of cancer treatment and care which have been achieved to date. In this context, the National Cancer Forum, established by one of my predecessors, Deputy Noonan, has carried out a review of symptomatic breast cancer services throughout the country. I understand the review is complete and I am scheduled to meet the National Cancer Forum tomorrow when I expect to receive the report of this specialist expert group. Until then, I am not in a position to speculate on any aspect of the report.