More funding needed to tackle cancer service backlog - Tóibín
A call for increased funding and capacity to tackle the backlogs in cancer services has been made by Deputy Peadar Tóibín.
“Statistics released to me following a written question to the Department of Health show an increase in the number of GP referrals for symptomatic breast cancer and a serious reduction in attendance at rapid access clinics for breast cancer and prostate cancer.
“We are all aware of the hundreds of thousands of women currently stuck in a backlog for cancer screening, but the statistics released to me show a backlog for symptomatic patients also, which is extremely alarming.
“This backlog was referenced in the HSE's winter plan published a few months ago. The Minister for Health has told me that funds have been allocated to restore cancer services to 95 per cent of 2019's capacity for 2021.
“However, 95 per cent capacity is not good enough, especially in light of the backlogs currently being experienced. 95 per cent capacity will not be enough to swiftly clear these backlogs, and I would worry that cancer patients might die as a result of this.
“Given my own recent battle with cancer, I am acutely aware of the urgency required in the treatment of the disease. Any delay in diagnosis or treatment is likely to reduce a patient’s survival chances”, concluded Deputy Tóibín.