February 16, 2018

Irish Cancer Society welcomes National Development Plan

Society calls for further clarity on development of Comprehensive Cancer Centre

The Irish Cancer Society has today welcomed the publication of the Government’s National Development Plan, which it says will bring about significant change in how cancer is treated, if capital funding is provided for facilities such as a Comprehensive Cancer Centre.  The Society says that the development of a new Comprehensive Cancer Centre needs to happen to move Ireland towards world-class cancer services.

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said: “Investment in a Comprehensive Cancer Centre would mean better treatment, better quality of life and better outcomes for patients.  The Irish Cancer Society has long been championing the development of a comprehensive centre, solely dedicated to cancer, and detail on how this will be funded is needed.”

“Delivering services within a comprehensive centre is the most successful way of offering cancer care globally.  The development of a comprehensive centre would bring us up to speed with some of the most advanced centres in the world.  Plans on how this will become a reality now need to be set out.”

The National Cancer Strategy 2017 – 2026 commits to developing at least one comprehensive cancer care centre that would improve cancer prevention, treatment, education and research, by 2026.  Such a centre, would, according to Mr. Buggy “ease capacity issues at the eight designated cancer centres and provide a space for research, scientific collaboration and a wider range of facilities.  Cancer incidence is set to double by 2040, and we need to invest now to best support patients and cancer services.”

The Society welcomed the National Development Plan’s proposed investment in radiotherapy and the BreastCheck screening service.  In a recent submission to the Department of Health’s Capacity Review, the Society called for investment in radiation oncology facilities in Dublin, Cork and Galway, and the replacement of radiotherapy equipment.

Mr. Buggy said: “We’re pleased that the Government has recognised areas that need investment to meet growing demand, such as the upgrade and maintenance of radiotherapy facilities and equipment. This will make services sustainable, and ensure patients continue to get the best available treatment.”

“We’re also very pleased to note the focus on prevention in the Development Plan, through the necessary investment in capacity to meet this Government’s commitment to expanding BreastCheck to all women aged 65-69.”

“Early diagnosis saves lives.  Along with investing in screening services, the Government, in line with the National Cancer Strategy and Sláintecare Report, must improve access to cancer tests by building capacity in the community, so people can get the right test at the right time, close to home.  As such, the proposed investment in the Plan in primary care centres and community diagnostic facilities will help ease the burden on acute hospitals and allow more people to get tests in a community setting.”