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Reilly confirms no plans to return breast cancer surgery to Sligo

The Minister for Health says Sligo will be a screening centre for colon cancer, but breast surgery won’t be returning.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore visits Sligo General Hospital in 2009.
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore visits Sligo General Hospital in 2009.
Image: The Labour Party via Flickr

HEALTH MINISTER James Reilly has confirmed that he has no immediate plans to return breast cancer surgery services to Sligo General Hospital.

The confirmation came after a cross-party meeting with TDs and Senators from the Sligo region, where local representatives had urged the minister to restore the services withdrawn under the last government.

Reilly said there were no immediate plans to restore the services, but said the matter would remain under review.

The declaration also came less than a week after junior minister John Perry admitted he was wrong to promise that the services would be restored to the hospital within 100 days of the new government taking power.

Reilly had been a vocal opponent of withdrawing the cancer services while in opposition, proposing that Sligo be designated as a satellite unit of the centre of excellence at University College Hospital in Galway.

Reilly also confirmed that Sligo General Hospital is to become a screening centre for colon cancer, and that two radiographers would be appointed to allow mammography to resume there.

This evening Perry told TheJournal.ie he was “delighted” that the return of the breast cancer services was under review, calling it a “very good start”.

Separately, Labour TD Ciarán Lynch has called on Reilly to address the number of patients on waiting lists in Cork University Hospital – saying the numbers are reaching crisis proportion.

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“There is a backlog of 4,478 orthopaedic outpatients on the waiting list at Cork University Hospital, waiting two years or more. The longest parient on the list has been there for 3.5 years.”

The quality of life being experienced by people on waiting lists was deteriorating dramatically given the length of time they had to wait for appointments, he said – adding that an “urgent” patient would still have to wait 18 months for an appointment.

Additional reporting by Michael Freeman

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Gavan Reilly

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