THE controversial transfer of breast cancer services from Kerry General Hospital (KGH), in Tralee, to Cork University Hospital (CUH) takes effect from today, the HSE confirmed.
Initial diagnosis and surgical management of Kerry patients will take place at CUH, one of the eight designated centres for cancer services under the National Cancer Control Programme.
Currently in KGH, about 20 women per week are referred for clinical examination to the symptomatic breast care service. These women will now travel to Cork.
Within that number, it is anticipated about 7%-10% will receive a positive diagnosis of breast cancer, according to the HSE. Those diagnosed will return to CUH for their surgery but will continue to receive chemotherapy and follow-up care at KGH.
Dedicated day and in-patient beds will be provided at CUH for patients from Kerry.
The HSE said the designation of CUH as the regional cancer centre sees the appointment of additional consultants, medical, nursing, paramedical and administrative staff to support the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Arrangements have also been agreed for the provision of dedicated operating theatre time and a dedicated outpatient clinic area for breast cancer patients at the hospital.
The HSE and the Irish Cancer Society have agreed additional funding for a new Travel2Care Scheme, which will be managed independently by the Irish Cancer Society locally to assist patients who have “genuine difficulty” in travelling to Cork for this service.
Politicians and a number of organisations in Kerry had campaigned for the retention of all cancer services at KGH, with 20,000 signatures collected.
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