15th April 2003
End apartheid in cancer care services - Ó Caoláin
Speaking in the Dáil debate on cancer services Sinn Fein health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called on the government ``end the apartheid in cancer services''. He deplored the centralisation of radiotherapy in Dublin and Cork and called on the Minister for Health and Children to regionalise the service.
He said it was ``a scandal that less than one third of the 12,000 patients who require radiotherapy in this State each year receive it and that public patients face a three-month-long wait for this vital treatment''.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said: ``There is apartheid in the health services in this State and that apartheid is very obvious in the area of cancer care. This motion seeks to end that apartheid.
``The tragedy is that so many people with treatable cancers are not being given the treatment that could save their lives. The main reason for this is the gross inequality in the distribution of cancer services in this State. The centralisation of radiotherapy services in Dublin and Cork discriminates against people outside the broad hinterland of those two cities.
``It is a scandal that less than one third of the 12,000 patients who require radiotherapy in this State each year receive it and that public patients face a three-month-long wait for this vital treatment.
``People also want accessible care in their region based on the real conditions in this country, and not based on population templates and arbitrary quotas imported from abroad. If the Minister for Health and Children is willing to fight that battle with the Minister for Finance, whom he has accused of not seeing the big picture on health, then he will have the backing of people on this side of the House. `` ENDS
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