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"Warning - we're on a slippery slope"  10.09.08

A DONEGAL cancer group has warned of a "slippery slope" that will see cancer services gradually eroded in the county.
Donegal Action for Cancer Care (DACC) issued their warning following the removal of the colposcopy service from Letterkenny General Hospital. In future, patients will have to travel to Sligo for the procedure. The colposcopy consultant revealed yesterday that he has now been told to stop admitting medical card patients at Letterkenny for the service.
Colposcopy is a procedure that examines a women's cervix for abnormalities. It has been available at the hospital for the past six years.
Around 700 Donegal women avail of the service annually and the figure, according to DACC, was expected to quadruple with the roll out of the National Cervical Screening Programme last week.
The group said the colposcopy service generated additional income for Letterkenny Hospital,
Letterkenny Hospital
making in excess of 100,000 last year.
"Donegal people should be asking who made this decision and why was the removal of this service allowed to happen?" said a DACC spokesperson.
"Women from as far away as Malin Head will have to travel almost six hours for a simple procedure to Sligo Hospital that has been done for the past six years in Letterkenny Hospital." DACC is demanding the restoration of the service with immediate effect.
"Most of our politicians are paying lip service to our cancer services in Donegal and it is no longer acceptable. Donegal people take heed this is the slippery slope of the gradual leakage of cancer services from Donegal.
"It took three and a half years to secure our permanent breast surgeon - how many Donegal women will have to die to get this Colpscopy service restored? We encourage you to contact your local politicians to voice your concerns, and ask them what they are doing for the cancer services in Donegal," added the spokesperson.
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