Health Minister stops planned cuts to cancer supports saying 'this was the first I heard of them'

HSE plans to cut vital supports for cancer survivors is being met with major criticism.

Thousands of breast cancer survivors are facing extra financial pressure following a decision to ration the supply of post mastectomy bras and prostheses.

The HSE says the new scheme will allow equal access to services countrywide while eliminating the problem of some areas having no supports.

The Irish Independent reports the HSE has postponed the introduction of the plans until next month.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris said he intervened to stop the proposed changes to the services.

Mr Harris said: "Yesterday I heard of planned changes to supports for patients with breast cancer. This was the first I heard of these changes. When I became aware of the proposed changes, I intervened and their introduction is now deferred.

"Whilst I understand that the health service is working with a range of stakeholders, most importantly patients, to try to improve the supports throughout the country, this cannot take place before plans are put in place to ensure there is no hardship or reduction of supports for patients who are already receiving a particular level of service.

"I have asked the HSE to come back to me with an enhanced plan that doesn't adversely affect women who are already coping with cancer. I want to ensure that they are not subjected to additional stress and worry about losing services.

"It is essential that every woman in this country in receipt of post-operative and cancer treatment supports continues to receive them. I want to be very clear that there cannot be any cuts in this area."

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