Information to hand would suggest that patients from Sligo and the North West who were awaiting the promised roll-out of follow-up mammography locally, which was to be undertaken by BreastCheck from September last on a temporary basis until the necessary staff are recruited to provide the full service at Sligo General Hospital (SGH), are in for another shock...it is not going to happen.
Last July, meetings between Sligo/Nth Leitrim TD, Tony McLoughlin and his personal assistant, Leitrim County Councillor Enda McGloin and members of the Save Our Cancer Services-NW committee took place to discuss the failure of government to honour another of its commitments --- to re-activate the mammography machine that is lying idle in SGH so that all follow-up mammography services could be undertaken locally. It is well known that the closure of this service at SGH is creating major problems for patients, particularly those with young families, and this issue has become a priority for the campaign to resolve.
Following the meeting it appeared as of the issue had been finally put to rest by, on the one hand, plans to recruit the necessary radiographers being significantly stepped up to include the involvement of a number of private recruitment agencies, and, on the other, to address the immediate problems for those already in the follow-up programme, arrangements had been made to have their mammography taken locally by BreastCheck on a temporary basis until the service was fully restored to SGH. That service was to be up and running by September just passed.
As September went by with still no sign of the BreastCheck service appearing, SligoToday.ie
contacted them directly for an update and the response will send shock waves throughout the region as it appears that this is another commitment that will go unhonoured.
In their reply, not only do BreastCheck point put that their “resources are currently committed” providing screening services, it goes on to make clear that no hard arrangements had been made at all, despite commitments given by Tony McLoughlin TD and Cllr.Enda McGloin to the contrary in July/August of this year. BreastCheck state that they understood that for them to undertake the provision of the follow-up service on a temporary basis was just “one of a number of options considered by the hospital group” but that this option had never progressed to a firm commitment to provide the service.
The closing sentence of the reply from BreastCheck kicks the problem back to the Hospital Group at the centre of this issue by suggesting to SligoToday.ie
that “this is really a query for the hospital group to assist you on and respond to”.
This however cuts across a “briefing document" from Tony McLoughlin TD that SligoToday.ie
has seen, dated July 2nd 2012, which clearly states, “BreastCheck has agreed to commence the follow-up mammography from September”. However Breastcheck deny any such agreement and their involvement was merely “one of a number of options considered by the hospital group” and that “no commitment was firmed up.”
Is it not time the cancer sufferers in Sligo and the wider region were told the truth...by somone?
It is imperative now that Tony McLoughlin TD and the government come forward and explain what is happening and to stop what appears to be the playing of cruel games with this issue. They must realise that those involved are cancer patients and survivors who have more than enough on their plate to be dealing with and it is reprehensible that they be treated in this outlandish manner with repeated false promises and the sporadic raising of expectations that they will be able to access vital necessary services locally.'Disgust'
One Sligo cancer patient has spoken of her 'disgust' with the latest broken promise.
Caitriona McGoldrick from Coolaney, Co Sligo told SligoToday.ie
that she was 'utterly disgusted and disappointed' that despite assurances from Deputy McLoughlin and Cllr McGloin she will have to make the arduous journey again tomorrow, Wednesday for a mammogram at University College Hospital Galway.
"They sat across the table and confirmed to me, without any doubt, that Breastcheck would be taking over in September and that my annual mammogram would be carried out in SGH. To be told now by Sligo Today that no such arrangement was agreed is soul destroying.
"I am truly heartbroken to have been lied to over and over again but this is the lowest, this latest letdown is overwhelming and an unmerciful 'kick in the teeth'."
Left: Caitriona McGoldrick just wants to be told the truth.
Ironically Ms McGoldrick
will be making the round trip journey on the Radiotherapy bus, the very vehicle she and fellow cancer sufferer, Valerie Finan spearheaded the fundraising drive to replace the former antiquated bus.
"It will bring back very sad memories, I lost a very good friend during the year and Wednesday's trip I know will be very emotional, its just not right."
Ms McGoldrick continued, "How can all these politicians continuously lie to us, Mr Perry promised us before the last election at The Big Ticket* that the full cancer services would be returned within 100 days. Now that he's a minister its obvious he doesn't care. We got nothing from him, absolutely nothing. *TheBigTicket.ie
"Now Mr McLoughlin has not only reneged on his promise but the answer to Sligo Today from Breastcheck totally contradicts his earlier promise which is now worthless."
A clearly upset Ms McGoldrick continued, "Dr Reilly came to Sligo last year to launch the Faircare Policy and we met face-to-face, now he too has also washed his hands of us and refuses to discuss the dire situation any further."
"Its not just me, there are hundreds of women in this predicament. I've just returned on Monday from a delightful holiday with my family. I was convinced that a letter would await me detailing my mammography appointment in Sligo General, but no, I'm Galway bound..again.
"All I, and others want, is for Dr Reilly, the HSE, Local TDs and Senators to tell the truth, simply tell us the truth. Their constant lies just adds to the stress of our condition and if they have the tiniest amount of humanity or compassion in their hearts then, for God's sake, they must tell us the truth."SligoToday.ie
will continue to monitor this serious situation and is currently awaiting replies to queries made to a number of relevant parties involved with this issue and will report in due course.Always be first with Sligo news - Never miss a story - Join us on Facebook