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Majella challenges Health Minister over breast unit 28.02.15

BREAST cancer survivor Majella O'Donnell has spoken out to help save the Breast Centre North West in her adopted Donegal.
Majella (54) who underwent a double mastectomy last year, said she was "very concerned" at claims the unit at Letterkenny General Hospital was being downgraded.
Consultant surgeon at the clinic, leading oncologist Michael Sugrue, took the unprecedented step of going on the local airwaves this week to express his concerns about the future of the service.
Mr Sugrue told Highland Radio that a failure to appoint a second breast surgeon to his team and a growing trend of directly referring Donegal patients to Galway instead of Letterkenny for assessment, were making his position untenable.
Mother-of-two Majella raised more than 600,000 euro for the Irish Cancer Society when she had her head shaved live on the Late, Late Show.
She received the all-clear from breast cancer last year.
Majella, who is married to singer Daniel, said it was "unacceptable" to expect patients to travel some 300km from Donegal to Galway.
"I am very concerned about the state of Donegal breast cancer care at Letterkenny General Hospital. It is unacceptable to have to travel to Galway," Majella tweeted her 2,700 followers yesterday.
And in a direct tweet to the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, she asked: "@campaignforleo please sort resources for breast cancer patients at Letterkenny General Hospital. How can you expect patients to travel four hours to Galway?"
 Majella O'Donnell.
The Saolta University Hospitals Group said it is committed to maintaining the breast cancer service in Letterkenny but said changes are being made to the patient referral system.
High level talks between management and public representatives took place yesterday as pressure grows for the service to be properly resourced.
Letterkenny has a well-established diagnostic breast cancer service which culminated in the official opening of the Breast Centre North West in 2008.
The clinic offers mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies and sees some 1500 patients annually.
Currently, about 65 patients who have been waiting longer than 84 days for assessment have been offered an earlier appointment in Galway.
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