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Derry hope for Inishowen cancer patients 09.11.07

CANCER patients from the peninsula may in future get radiotherapy treatment at a new state-of-the-art centre at Altnagelvin Hospital, Health Minister Mary Harney indicated yesterday.
Ms Harney made her comments in the Dáil following a meeting earlier this week with Co-operating for Cancer Care North West.
Altnagelvin Hospital. She said while radiotherapy facilities at Belfast City Hospital had been used in the past year by Donegal patients, "take up is very small".
But Ms. Harney indicated that the way forward for Donegal border patients
needing radiotherapy in future would be if a top facility was built at Altnagelvin Hospital as a satellite of Belfast City Hospital. She said her Northern counterpart was in favour of such a development.
"At a recent meeting with Minister McGimpsey, we had a very good discussion on a facility being provided perhaps at Altnagelvin Hospital," she said.
"The Northern Ireland authorities have not yet formally made that decision but Minister McGimpsey was extremely positive and we would be very positive in supporting that because you would then have the critical mass in the cross-border catchment area to justify a state-of-the-art radiotherapy facility as a satellite of Belfast."
Ms. Harney said she had assured the Northern health authorities that support would be forthcoming from her department.
"I made it clear to Minister McGimpsey that the Irish Government would support a cross-border initiative such as that, either financially towards the capital cost of equipment or by procuring services on behalf of patients.
"We await further deliberations in that regard. I think Northern Ireland needs an additional centre for their own capacity and my understanding is that they are examining this at the moment," she added.
"While they have not made any formal decision, I think they are looking at that part of Northern Ireland which would obviously suit patients from Donegal."
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