Roisin Shortall TD

Chronic underfunding of the National Cancer Strategy is compromising patient care, according to Social Democrats health spokesperson Róisín Shortall.

“It is clear that implementation of the National Cancer Strategy is no longer a priority for this Government.

“When the Irish Cancer Society appeared before the Health Committee in April, their message was received loud and clear – the strategy is being starved of funding.

“A minimum of €20 million is required in Budget 2025 to begin addressing this funding hole.

“For a long time, our cancer strategies were the success story of the health service. They were prime examples of what the HSE could achieve if sustained investment was matched by political will.

“As a result, patient outcomes greatly improved because the focus was firmly on delivery, under the steady leadership of Professor Tom Keane.

“However, the third and current cancer strategy, launched by then Minister for Health Simon Harris in 2017, only received funding in two of the last seven budgets.

“There is a direct link between this failure to fund the strategy and missed targets, rising waiting lists, delayed surgeries, staff shortages and rising cancer rates.

“Cancer services must be properly funded in Budget 2025 and the Government must commit to ring-fenced multi-annual funding.

“Separately, dealing with the expense of hospital parking charges for patients is something this Government could act on immediately. But it has failed to do so, despite a Programme for Government commitment to introduce a cap on daily hospital parking charges.”

June 19, 2024

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