Surgery for pancreatic, liver and bile duct cancer, which had been undertaken at Mercy University Hospital (MUH), will be transferred to Cork University Hospital.
For the past four years, MUH had treated hundreds of cancer patients, including the father of Seamus Coleman.
Mr Coleman, from Glanworth, Co Cork, said his father, Jerry, would never have survived as long as he did if he’d been forced to travel for treatment in Dublin.
Jerry Coleman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2008 and died last January at the age of 60.
“If he had to go to Dublin for treatment and spend time away from his family, I have no doubt the stress that would have caused would have shortened his life even more,” Mr Coleman said.
Concern had been raised that all pancreatic services would be centralised to St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin.
But the HSE has decided that a satellite treatment centre will remain in Cork.
“I know that my father and other patients received a most excellent service from consultant surgeon Chrístor Ó Suilleabhain and his team at Mercy University Hospital. I believe that retaining the service in Cork is a recognition of the quality of work carried out by this team,” Mr Coleman said.
At the official opening of the national centre at St Vincent’s yesterday, lead consultant surgeon Justin Geoghegan said Cork’s satellite unit would work with shared protocols and guidelines with St Vincent’s.
“A combined multidisciplinary meeting and centralising data collection will ensure that the two sites function as a unified service,” Mr Geoghegan said.
“This is a complex surgical and treatment process and for patients and their families it is a challenging diagnosis and a challenging time. We here in the national centre are giving them the best opportunity to treat and manage their cancer,” he said.
Director of the National Cancer Control Programme, Dr Susan O’Reilly, said they were moving towards having all eight rapid access clinics for lung and prostate cancer open in the coming weeks.