Fears on lung cancer diagnosis

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Patient’s fears on lung cancer diagnosis
By Gerry McLaughlin

THE HSE has strongly denied that the diagnosis of lung cancer will be taken away from Sligo General Hospital in April.

In a statement issued to this newspaper, the hospital confirmed that the current lung cancer specialist was moving from the hospital over the next few months.

Respiratory patient Michael McGloin, of Cartron Point, told Sligo Weekender that patients had been informed that the diagnostic services for lung cancer would end in April However the HSE dismissed these claims as “completely untrue.”

Current lung cancer consultant Dr Marcus Kennedy is moving from the hospital in April to take up a new post elsewhere.

Some patients have been informed that the consultant will be going in April.

Mr Michael McGloin claimed that applications for fresh diagnostic equipment for the detection of lung cancer had been turned down as Sligo was not a Centre of Excellence.

Mr McGloin said the possible loss of lung cancer services would be a crippling blow to Sligo General Hospital.

“I suffer from a respiratory illness and will not be unduly affected as we believe that our consultant will be replaced.

“But we have been told that diagnostic cancer services will be transferred to the centres of excellence in April.

“If the diagnostic services are gone then it is a short step to a removal of the entire service.

“And is there any point in appointing a lung cancer specialist if the diagnostic services are gone?

“Health Minister Mary Harney has set up centres of excellence against the will of the people of the north west and now it looks as if the lung cancer services are in danger here as well.”

Mr McGloin said that when breast cancer services were under threat, a major public campaign was under way.

“This is very distressing news. Does it mean that patients suffering from lung cancer will now have to travel the whole way to Galway or Dublin or some other Centre of Excellence? Will we now have to fight to save our lung cancer services as well?”

Rejecting Mr McGloin’s fears, the HSE said the “consultant physician in respiratory medicine had applied for and was given a specialist post in another hospital.

“It is expected he will take up this post in early summer.

“The HSE have already commenced a recruitment process to replace the current post holder.

“The diagnosis of lung conditions including lung cancer will continue to be available in Sligo and other hospitals outside the eight cancer centres.”

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