Management at Mercy University Hospital (MUH) in Cork said yesterday they would be seeking a meeting with the newly appointed national director of cancer control, Professor Tom Keane, to impress on him the importance of the hospital’s work in cancer care.
Hospital chief executive Pat Madden said he believed more patients were treated for cancer between MUH and fellow Cork City hospital, the South Infirmary, than at Cork University Hospital (CUH) which was designated one of the eight major cancer centres.
“That poses a logical question about why, when something is working well enough, why transfer its services elsewhere?”
Mr Madden also said the way the changes were announced on Wednesday had caused confusion and worry for patients. The Health Service Executive (HSE) announced the immediate stoppage of breast cancer services at 13 smaller hospitals, with services for other forms of cancer at those and other hospitals to close on a phased basis over the next two years. However, MUH was named as one of the 13 even though it had not provided breast cancer services for nine years.
“We’ve had a lot of phone calls from patients under treatment for other cancers wondering if they still have their appointments. We want to let them know that cancer services are continuing as normal, that all patients should attend for their appointments and GPs should continue to refer them here.”
The HSE has not yet said at what point hospitals like MUH will be required to stop providing services.
In all about 26 hospitals providing varying levels of cancer care will ultimately have to stop and their services will transfer to CUH, Waterford Regional, University College Hospital Galway, Limerick Regional and four Dublin hospitals: Beaumont, the Mater, St James’s and St Vincent’s.