Updated: 06/07/17 : 04:56:29
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Sligo's claim ignored in new national cancer plan

Special Report

SLIGO SEEMS unlikely to become a ninth national centre of excellence for cancer care anytime in the next decade.

This is despite the official prediction that the incidence of cancer will double in the period to 2026.

The new national cancer strategy admits that the rise ''will present a challenge for the current model of cancer care.''

Sligo cancer services campaigner Lily McMorrow has warned this week that some locals opt to skip appointments in Galway because of the travel distance involved.

Some Sligo people, McMorrow explained, even have to go to Galway for mammograms which can be completed in three minutes.

She was speaking this week on ''Drivetime'' RTÉ Radio.

Ringfence Query

Professor Jerome Coffey did not deal directly with the Sligo issues when pressed by ''Drivetime'' presenter Mary Wilson.

Coffey, Director of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) was also vague when repeatedly pressed on whether monies would be ''ringfenced'' for the latest strategy.

''National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026'' was official published, Tuesday. See link below.

Widespread Protest

It is the successor to the 2006 policy ''Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland.''

That plan caused unrest and widespread community protest in Sligo and surrounding counties.

Those protests included 2009 letters handed in at Government Buildings and at Aras an Uachtaran. See below.

Former junior Minister John Perry pledged in 2011 that services would be returned to Sligo ''within 100 days'' of taking office in the general election.

Ignores, Sidesteps

The 2006 plan failed to deliver any ''centre of excellence'' for cancer treatment west of Galway.

Yesterday's document confirms that radiotherapy can now be delivered at Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry to patients ''from the North West.''

However, in practice that means north Donegal and the document ignores or sidesteps some local campaign issues raised over the past decade.

  Lily McMorrow (front) speaking to national media outside Dáil Eireann in 2009. Photo: SligoToday.ie

Appropriate Locations

Chapter eight in the new 150 page plus national strategy deal with possible service enhancements.

Proposed ''comprehensive cancer centres'' would, the new strategy suggests, also be developed on the sites of the current national centres of excellence.

Says the strategy: ''The projected growth in incidence and prevalence of cancer will present a challenge for the current model of cancer care.

''A model of care is required that will be capable of managing the increase in cancer workload,''  says the new strategy.

That workload will include from referral and diagnostics through to treatment and follow-up care – ''in a manner that provides safe, high quality care in clinically appropriate locations.''

Section 8.3.5 of the latest strategy makes it clear that the next decade will see an evaluation of current centres of excellence.....''with a view to maximising throughput and outcomes.''

See Sligo Today 29/7/2009  -- Photo Special on Bra Protest in Dublin.

New Cancer Strategy:-