Cover of the prebudget submission 2025

Prebudget Submission 2025

- Updated June 2024

One in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetimes. When this happens we deserve the best possible chance of surviving the disease. But people with cancer in Ireland are not being given that chance at present.

In the latest year for which comparable data is available, Ireland’s cancer mortality rate was the third highest in Western Europe. Ireland is a leader in many areas. We should not be a laggard when it comes to cancer care. People with cancer, their loved ones, and the staff who care for them deserve better.

We have a National Cancer Strategy that sets out a roadmap to world class cancer care in Ireland. However, it has only been adequately funded in two of the last seven budgets. This needs to change.

The Irish Cancer Society’s Budget 2025 Submission is urging Government to stop underfunding the National Cancer Strategy. This call is supported by the two main representative bodies for cancer doctors in Ireland; the Irish Society of Medical Oncologists (ISMO) and the Irish Society of Radiation Oncologists (ISRO).

According to the HSE, the National Cancer Control Programme’s annual budget for implementation of the National Cancer Strategy should have increased incrementally over the past 8 years to be €110m higher in 2024 than in 2016. The actual incremental increase has only been €65m. As a result, the cumulative loss of investment in cancer services from 2017 to 2024 is almost €180m.

Due to this underfunding: screening has not been expanded as planned; target waiting times for cancer are not being met; cancer surgeries are frequently delayed; investment in infrastructure is lacking; radiotherapy services are operating below capacity; clinical trials are falling far short of target; and access to new medicines is much slower in Ireland than in other European countries.

As a result, the Irish Cancer Society is calling for: 
  • An additional €20 million in 2025 in new recurrent funding for the National Cancer Strategy.
  • An assessment of the funding needs of cancer services, above this €20 million minimum additional annual funding level, to ensure full implementation of the National Cancer Strategy by 2026.
  • End the recruitment embargo by allocating the necessary funding to fill crucial healthcare sector posts based on up-to-date workforce plans.

The Irish Cancer Society is also urging the Government to address the cost of cancer for cancer patients in Budget 2025. Recommendations include the abolition of hospital parking fees for cancer patients, an automatic entitlement to the medical card for cancer patients, enhanced access to the domiciliary care allowance, and a statutory ‘right to be forgotten’ for cancer survivors.

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