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Minister allays fears over future of Breast Cancer Unit 21.01.15

FEARS over the future of the Breast Service Unit at Letterkenny General Hospital have been allayed with confirmation the service is to continue.
The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh TD, has this morning welcomed confirmation he received following a meeting at the hospital last Friday with both management and consultants.
"It was brought to my attention that the hospital would not be in a position to provide a consultancy service to patients who had been referred by their GP for specific breast services," said the minister.
“During the three hour meeting at the hospital, I was informed that the current number of routine patients awaiting an appointment at Letterkenny Hospital, which was in direct breach of the HSE’s 12 week target, was estimated at 600. The suggested proposal was to write to each person, requesting that they travel to Galway to avail of consultant services at Galway University Hospital."
The Donegal T.D., said he then contacted the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to discuss what steps were needed to prevent this action from going ahead.
"The minister, his staff and his officials at the Department took immediate action and a conference call took place between the relevant HSE officials and the Saolta Group on Monday, January19, 2015.
A number of short and medium term decisions were made during the conference call, namely:
Short term: a further review of the situation would take place immediately with the immediate appointment of a locum consultant breast surgeon; additional clinics would be arranged at Letterkenny Hospital to support the review of patients.
Medium term: Consideration will be given to the placement of GP support to the consultant at the Breast Unit; the recruitment of an advanced nurse practitioner to help support the unit; to review the delivery of integrated breast services across the group.
“I understand that a detailed plan will be drafted to deal with the backlog currently in place, within this coming week," added Minister McHugh.
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