Dáil Éireann - Volume 537 - 30 May, 2001
Written Answers. - Cancer Screening Programme.
Ms Shortall Ms Shortall
150. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children whether incorrect information was given in reply to Parliamentary Question No. 164 of 2 May 2001; if so, if he will now correct the  record of Dáil Éireann in this regard; if he will explain the circumstances which led to this error being made; and if he will contact the patient concerned in view of the circumstances. [16153/01]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): As I previously stated to the House, I am most concerned at the deferral of chemotherapy treatment at the Mater Hospital. The patient in question was regrettably unable to be admitted to the Mater Hospital for chemotherapy on 17 April due to capacity problems, and was subsequently admitted on 26 April. This was unacceptable and obviously a cause of great concern to the patient and to myself.
Following the receipt of Parliamentary Question No. 164 answered on 2 May 2001, my Department in accordance with standard practice requested the Eastern Regional Health Authority to make inquiries of the Mater Hospital in relation to the particular case. The authority advised my Department that it had contacted the Patient Service Office, Mater Hospital and was informed that the patient in question was due to be admitted to the Mater Hospital on 16 April 2001 and that at her request the admission date was deferred to Tuesday, 17 April. The parliamentary question was answered, in good faith, on the basis of this information received from the hospital via the authority.
I understand now that the patient concerned did not refuse to be admitted to the Mater Hospital for her treatment. I wish to state that I accept totally the veracity of the statement made on behalf of the patient and I wish to apologise for any distress caused to the patient as a result of the reply given on 2 May 2001. This was certainly not intended and I will be conveying my apology in writing directly to the patient concerned. I am also happy to correct the record of the House in this regard.
As the Deputy will be aware, I initiated a national review of bed capacity in both acute and non-acute sectors, on foot of the commitment by Government in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. The findings of this review will be brought to Government in the near future.
Dáil Éireann 537 Written Answers. Cancer Screening Programme.