Budget funding for cancer services ‘a step in the right direction’

An extra €20 million earmarked for the National Cancer Strategy in Budget 2022 is welcome but more funding is needed to deliver world-class cancer services for Ireland, according to the Irish Cancer Society.

The Society is also calling for clarity on the level of additional funding that will be made available to help eliminate waiting lists for cancer services.

Commenting on Budget 2022 Irish Cancer Society Director of Advocacy Rachel Morrogh said: “The extra funding provided by Minister Stephen Donnelly is a welcome step in the right direction but the crisis in cancer care caused by historical under-investment, the pandemic and the cyber-attack means that more will be needed to build the resilient, sustainable cancer system that is the vision of the National Cancer Strategy.

“Assurances are needed that funding for the National Cancer Strategy will be supported with significant additional allocations to deal with waiting lists for cancer services and the considerable impact COVID-19 has had on cancer patients, healthcare professionals and patients.

“In calling for an increased allocation in our recent Pre-Budget Submission, we referenced the expected impact of the pandemic on cancer services as many more people come forward with health concerns into an already crowded system.

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It is a critical that waiting lists for cancer tests, treatment and support services are cleared so that patients have the best chance of survival and a good quality of life.

“The Irish Cancer Society welcomes the announcement that hospital charges for children will be reduced and that the Domiciliary Care Allowance will be increased. Both these will go some way in helping with the very challenging financial circumstances many families face when a child is diagnosed with cancer. The next step must be to extend the Domiciliary Care Allowance to 16 and 17-year-olds.

“Finally, it is good news that the Drug Payment Scheme threshold has been reduced to €100. We have been campaigning for this change for many years and it will make a real difference to cancer patients who have very significant costs to bear as a result of their disease.”