Sunday 19 November 2017

Campaigners accuse minister of breaking cancer promise

Paddy Clancy

FURIOUS cancer campaigners are demanding the resignation of Junior Minister John Perry over his failure to keep a promise to return breast-cancer services to Sligo General Hospital.

Dozens of activists turned on the small business minister at a press conference in Sligo yesterday, when he claimed to have made progress on the issue.

Several women shouted at the minister: "We want our votes back."

Mr Perry said he had ensured the return of mammography services to the hospital by the final quarter of this year and that recruitment of a second permanent medical oncologist would now go ahead.

However, campaigners claimed that Mr Perry had promised the full reinstatement of breast-cancer services that were moved to a centre of excellence in Galway two years ago.

Campaigners also claimed that the mammography services to be made available later this year would be carried out on a machine that is already paid for and currently lying idle in the hospital.

They also said the appointment of a second oncologist was not a new development, as the HSE had announced in April that it was going to advertise this position.

Commitments

Mr Perry presented an HSE discussion document outlining consideration for breast cancer patients within Sligo General Hospital catchment area but campaigners demanded a direct meeting with Health Minister Dr James Reilly.

He said he regretted that he had not got the full return of cancer services to Sligo within 100 days of the new Government. However, Mr Perry added: "This is a start."

He also denied that he had pledged to resign as a minister if he failed to deliver on the issue within 100 days.

The Save Our Cancer Services (North West) steering group said in a statement that Fine Gael and Labour had given unambiguous commitments that they would restore cancer services to Sligo once they were in power.

Irish Independent

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