Wednesday 16 January 2019

Anger at Breastcheck move

A mobile Breastcheck unit had been visiting the retail park in Carraroe
A mobile Breastcheck unit had been visiting the retail park in Carraroe
A letter which has been sent to women in the Sligo area advising them of appointments in Tubbercurry some 21 miles away where the unit is located in the car park of Teach Laighne

Paul Deering

Anger and frustration has greeted a decision to remove the Breastcheck mobile clinic from Sligo with women being told to travel to Tubbercurry instead.

Social media was awash with complaints from women who are demanding an answer as to why the service will not be returning to its regular stand at Sligo Retail Park at Carraroe having previously been located at the grounds of Sligo Racecourse.

In recent days women due for examination in Sligo have been sent letters stating that its site in Sligo town had been withdrawn and "rather than delay offering you an appointment, we have scheduled an appointment in an alternative location until we can find a new site nearer Sligo town."

The letter also states that the person could be assured that in two years' time when they would be called again for their next screening appointment they would be offered an appointment in Sligo.

The matter was raised at Monday's meeting of Sligo County Council where an emergency motion on the topic was tabled by Councillor Declan Bree.

He said he has been contacted by many constituents who were dismayed, annoyed and angry at the failure to provide the screening service on a site in the Sligo urban area.

"People find it difficult to comprehend why this has happened. The National Screening Service has an obligation to ensure that its services are accessible for all eligible women. It is my understanding that BreastCheck has a well developed and standardised approach to selecting potential sites for its mobile screening unit. I am aware that they identify in advance a site capable of meeting the needs of service users balanced against the multiple technical and operational requirements of the service. Criteria for such a site include a central location accessible by public transport with car parking facilities and toilet and refreshment facilities nearby. Screening units have been sited in a range of locations countrywide including hospitals, retail parks, council and civic offices and community centres. In this context, and given the number of potential sites in Sligo town, I am at a loss to understand why this problem has occurred.

"Taking into consideration the fact that the Breast Cancer service was removed from Sligo General Hospital, and taking into consideration the many broken promises made to cancer service campaigners in Sligo by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail politicians, I can well understand the level of distrust and anger currently being expressed by women in this community.

"This matter needs to be resolved now and the Minister for Health, the National Screening service and HSE need to act without further delay." said Cllr Bree. His motion was passed unanimously having been seconded by Cllr Gino O'Boyle .

Sligo Champion