"Backlog for cancer screening in Galway will cost lives" - Campbell
Aontú representative for Galway East, Joe Campbell, has called on the government to increase funding to help tackle the backlog in cancer screening. It follows statistics which show that breast cancer screening in the west of the country is down 80% on last year.
Mr Campbell said:
"There is a serious and concerning backlog for breast cancer screening in the west of Ireland. The issue was discussed recently at a meeting of the West Regional Health Forum. In 2018, 42,282 women were screened across nine counties in the west, but only 8,122 have been screened for breast cancer this year. Galway is very heavily affected, down 8,500 on last year. This is a very worrying development and something which we in Aontú warned would happen as we campaigned for the reopening of the health service over the Summer months. Cancer screening should never have been stopped during lockdown, it is essential and saves lives".
Mr Campbell continued: "I know what I'm talking about because I've been there myself, I know the worry and stress that a cancer diagnosis can cause and the importance of screening in ensuring early detection of the disease and swift treatment. The screenings have restarted now nationally, but the HSE Winter Plan shows that they will only be operating at 95% of the capacity pre-covid in 2021. This means that the backlog may take a considerable length of time to clear. Given the extent of the backlog the government must increase funding for the service and ensure that it operates above the pre-covid capacity, otherwise people will die unnecessarily", concluded Campbell.