Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 24 October, 2001
Written Answers. - Cancer Treatment Services.
Mr. G. Mitchell Mr. G. Mitchell
204. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children the measures he has taken to reduce the death rate from cancer since his appointment as Minister for Health and Children. [25499/01]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Between 1994 and 1999, the latest date for which mortality figures are available, there has been a significant decrease in cancer deaths in both men, 3.5%, and women, 3.6%.
More than £60 million, 76.184 million, has been allocated under the National Cancer Strategy since 1997 including £18.549 million, 23,565 million, in the current year. Among the developments made possible by this additional funding has been the approval of the appointment of an additional 57 additional consultant posts in key areas, such as medical oncology, haematology, histopathology and palliative care, together with support staff.
Phase one of BreastCheck, the national breast screening programme, was launched in October 2000 covering the functional areas of Eastern Regional Health Authority, the North-Eastern and Midland Health Boards. This programme is currently available to all women living in the phase one areas aged between 50 and 64 years. It is estimated that there are approximately 140,000 eligible women living within the phase one area of the programme and up to the 30 June 2001, BreastCheck had invited 43,283 women to attend for screening. BreastCheck is currently in consultation with the other health boards concerning the roll out of the programme nationwide. I will continue to support BreastCheck in moving to national coverage as soon as is practicably possible, having regard, in particular, to the experience gained in putting phase one of the programme in place.
Funding totalling £4.35 million, 5.52 million, has been provided this year to enable a number of health agencies to commence the development of centres of excellence for the care and treatment of symptomatic breast disease in line with the recommendations of the report on the “Development of services for Symptomatic Breast Disease” which was published in March 2000. These developments are in addition to the services being provided by BreastCheck.
Phase one of the national cervical screening Programme was launched in October 2000, covering the Mid-Western Health Board area. As with BreastCheck, the experience gained from phase  one will facilitate the planning and organising of the roll out of this programme. Currently, the chief executive officers of the health boards are involved in an examination of the feasibility of extending the programme to the rest of the country.
Research projects are also being funded under a tripartite agreement between my Department, the Health Department in Northern Ireland and the National Cancer Institute in the USA. In addition, an all-Ireland cancer incidence and mortality report was launched on 1 May 2001.
I will continue to be advised by the National Cancer Forum regarding the planning, development and co-ordination of cancer services for the country.
Dáil Éireann 542 Written Answers. Cancer Treatment Services.