Donegal Action for Cancer Care go to Dail Eireann to seek Centre of Excellence for Letterkenny General Hospital! ( Press Release Monday 29th October 07)
DACC had requested a meeting immediately after the General Election with the TD’s of the county together. Appreciating and respecting that it maybe difficult for them all to get together at the one time in Donegal, DACC then requested a meeting in Dublin .
A delegation of 6 from DACC travelled to Dail Eireann on Wednesday 24th October to meet with all the Donegal TD’s and were joined by the 2 Senators Cecilia Keaveney and Brian O Domhnaill.
The delegation travelled to bring their concerns to them as they are the people we will be working together with for the next 5 years. This was DACC’s first meeting with the newly elected team as a group. DACC remain totally focused on Letterkenny General Hospital.
DACC had clear objectives for this meeting.
1) To make elected reps aware of DACC strategic objectives for next 4 to 5 years.
2) To make clear that the needs of Donegal cancer patients are paramount in DACC
2) To elicit all party support for DACC objectives.
3) Establish lines of communication between DACC and reps going forward.
The elected representatives were:
1) Each in turn described their objectives for cancer services.
2) Each gave undertaking publicly to continue communication lines with DACC
3) A number of reps had private discussions with DACC
DACC were struck by the cross party support and the degree to which all reps present were focused on cancer services as being of major importance and a priority for all of them.
The reps acknowledged the dedicated, focused and reasoned approach of DACC as advocates for cancer patients over a number of years.
Chairperson of DACC Seamus O Donnell said “Firstly I would like on behalf of DACC to extend our sincere thanks to our Donegal Politicians for affording us the opportunity to meet with them and to Pat the Cope TD for hosting this very important meeting. It has opened the channels so that together we can develop good clear lines of communication and information sharing. We see this as an opportunity that we took to initiate a process with our Donegal Politicians to “kick start” round table open discussions on cancer services in Donegal. We are delighted that not only did they welcome the opportunity but it was reassuring that they were in agreement that the time had come for all involved to put the cards on the table for open and frank discussion in relation to cancer services in this next stage in the process. We in DACC were very clear two and a half years ago and still are that we want cancer services for Letterkenny General Hospital.”
Questions were tabled by DACC for replies to be given later. Very open and frank discussions took place by all concerned on all issues relating to Health and Cancer Services and how these services can be moved forward in the duration of this Dail term.
“I was delighted to be part of the next stage in relation to the cancer debate in Donegal. I wish to congratulate DACC for bringing it to this new level. I would encourage the public to get involved in the debate and ultimately have a dedicated radiotherapy centre in the North West. As the new Fine Gael Spokesperson on North West Co-operation I will be encouraging my colleagues across the border to likewise get involved in the debate. We have a perfect template to have Sligo-Letterkenny- Altnagalvin sharing of expertise/opportunity. As Donegal North East Deputy who was familiar with the ongoing development at Letterkenny, I will be lobbying hard for a dedicated public, accessible, affordable cancer centre in Letterkenny” said Joe Mc Hugh TD.
Dr James McDaid T.D said of the meeting“I have always maintained that the North West requires its own Centre of Excellence with regard to Cancer Treatment. This should be ideally placed in Letterkenny whether it is a Private or Public provided facility is of little relevance to me as long as Public Patients are able to avail of these services through the HSE taking on that service on their behalf. In my experience Patients do not mind if there are treated through the Private or Public sector as long as they are treated and that is their right.”
Extensive discussions took place on how best to move the process forward with all the proposed developments around Cancer Services and facilities. This meeting was one of the most positive that DACC have been involved in since its inception.DACC is non party political and all attending gave their full cross-party support to move forward with openness and address the issues that patients are encountering.
Senator Brian O’ Domhnaill noting the energy of DACC said:
“The meeting was constructive & very positive. I would like to pay tribute to DACC for putting the whole cancer service issue on the agenda locally and nationally.
It was clear from the meeting that our agenda is unified and we will be working together in order to provide state of the art cancer services and facilities in Letterkenny to cater for the needs of Donegal and surrounding areas”
Minister Pat Gallagher who on DACC’s behalf had been requesting a meeting with Minister Mary Harney informed the group that this was now happening.
These issues are as such:
- Centre of Excellence for the North West in Letterkenny General Hospital .
- Breast Surgeon
- Colorectal Surgeon
- Radiation Services
- New A&E & 70 Beds
- Plight of Patients in Donegal
- Wellness Centre
- Private Hospital
- Primary Care
- Education of Young on Cancer Care
- Response to questions tabled to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Enda Kenny & urgent meeting with Mary Harney.
“I'm glad that Letterkenny hospital has a fine basis that has been improved through recent announcements. Having the best possible services as close to home as gives us our best chance of survival and it remains my key aim. It is an ongoing matter that I will continue to speak to Minister Harney about. I do believe that there have been major moves in recent times and this needs to continue. I declare my interest in that, as I said before I may well be that patient that needs that facility!” concluded Senator Keaveney
While the tone of the meeting was of a very serious nature the relationships and trust that existed left DACC in no doubt that they have the support and commitment of all the attending Donegal Politician’s.
Thank you to Joe Mc Hugh TD and Dr James Mc Daid TD who welcomed DACC at the door of Dail Eireann on behalf of their colleagues .Our sincere thanks to Minister Mary Coughlan, Minster Pat Gallagher, Dr. James Mc Daid TD, Niall Blaney TD, Dinny Mc Ginley TD, Joe Mc Hugh TD, Senators Cecilia Keaveney and Brian O Domhnaill.
We would like to acknowledge the support of Noel Mc Ginley of Mc Ginley Motors, Letterkenny. by providing transport for the delegation to travel to Dublin.