A full investigation is urgently required to identify the reasons why breast cancer survival rates are lower in the West than in any other part of the country, Galway East TD and Minister of Rural Affairs Seán Canney has said.

“It is not acceptable that we have poorer outcomes for patients and we need to find out why,” Minister Canney added.

“We do know, however, that there are infrastructural  and capacity issues that need to be tackled. We also know we are one of the worst performing areas in terms of people receiving treatment within 15 days of getting their treatment plan.

“This issue needs to be dealt with as a matter of extreme urgency by the Health Service Executive.

“This is also a matter of great frustration for those working in the health care system because once patients gain access to treatment, the standard of care is excellent.”

Minister Canney’s remarks followed the publication of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System’s annual report which showed that breast cancer survival rates in the West are 80%, the lowest in the country. Survival rates in the South were at 86.6%, in Dublin and mid Leinster 86.3% and in the north east 85.9%.

The report said various factors influenced survival, including the stage of cancer and treatment.

Last year information released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that University Hospital Galway and Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, were among the five worst performing hospitals in the country in terms of patients starting a course of cancer treatment with 15 days of a receiving a finalised treatment plan.

The main reason given at the time was lack of capacity in day wards which led to delays.

“If further investment is required in relation to day ward capacity and specialised cancer staff, then that must be ascertained as a matter of urgency so that the necessary investments can be made in cancer services in the West to ensure equity of treatment and equity of outcomes for patients,” concluded Minister Canney.


For more information, contact Minister Canney on 086-2513639

July 19 2019