With the two-month deadline on the return of mammography services to
Sligo General Hospital having expired yesterday, see SligoToday.ie 23/7/12
, and no change to the current situation members of the Save Our
Cancer Services (SOCS) Steering Group held a follow-up meeting
yesterday with the Sligo/Nth Leitrim TD, who gave the 62-Day commitment,
Tony McLoughlin. Also present was Leitrim Councillor Enda McGloin. SOCS
were seeking clarification on matters previously raised.
The SOCS committee told SligoToday.ie
that problems preventing the
restoration of follow-up mammography services revolve around
difficulties in recruiting qualified radiographers. Suggestions brought
forward by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to circumvent these were:
1) Involve BreastCheck on a temporary basis until staff are in place to provide the service at Sligo General (SGH)
2) Intensify recruitment efforts
3) Approach retired members to provide the service
4) Arrange for existing staff to undergo the required training.
Concerns were expressed at the involvement of BreastCheck given that
that service has very restricted statutory obligations, particularly
with regard to age profile, and in addition, it appears that this
suggestion will only cover those patients who received all their
treatment at SGH.
The SOCS Steering Group sought clarity on issues raised as follows:
1) Will the Breatscheck temporary service be open to all patients
from the region regardless of where they received their initial
treatment and free from any age constraint?
2) In relation to the list of patients that BreastCheck will offer
follow-up mammography’s to, which has been sent from Sligo to the Galway
radiology department, what department in SGH supplied the list and does
it include patients as far back as 2001 to 2009?
3) Galway University Hospital (GUH) indicated that they had
approached 2 retired members of staff with a view to them returning to
work on a part time basis as an interim measure and these approaches
were positively received; are there any further developments on this
approach to report?
4) There is currently an outreach mammography service serving
Castlebar by two Mammographers, can the staff that operate this service
be asked to also attend at SGH to expedite resumption of the service in
A request to meet Mr Bill Maher, CEO of GUH, and Mr Tony Canavan, HSE,
to review progress on the above issues was made and this request will be
Finally the SOCS Steering Group stated that they remain very concerned
at the lack of a clear time lined plan to restore the mammography
It would appear that the campaigners will now have to wait a further, as
yet undetermined period to allow the HSE to explore yet more solutions
to hopefully return at least the mammography services to Sligo.
The idea of a 9th Centre of Excellence in Sligo, as promised before the
2011 general election by the Labour leadership and the locally based
Labour senator would now seem to be a distant dream. Also faded in
memory are all the pre-election pledges made by Fine Gael in relation to
cancer sufferers in Sligo and the northwest which promised to reverse
the disastrous decisions made by the previous Fianna Fáil led