"Massive Rise In Number of Referrals to Rapid Access Cancer Clinics, Compared With Pre-Pandemic Figures" - Tóibín
Statistics released by the Department of Health to the political party Aontú show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people being referred, by GPs, to Rapid Access Clinic for breast and prostate cancer. In August this year the number of referrals stood at 153% of the figure for August of 2019.
Speaking today, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD said:
"These are worrying statistics. It's really appalling that our cancer screening services in this country were closed for such a length of time during the pandemic. Cancer services must always be recognised as essential services. Aontú was one of the only political parties to criticise the closure of cancer services during the pandemic, and I was jeered at by the Taoiseach for doing so on the floor of the Dáil at the time”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “The trends in cancer diagnosis and referrals and information showing the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis must be examined properly by experts in the months and years to come to see what impact the closure of much of our health service had on survival rates and outcomes for cancer patients. If we are to use the number of referrals to rapid access clinics for breast and prostate cancer as our metric for gathering this data then we see cause to worry - so far this year we see a 36.5% increase in referrals when compared with the same period in 2019. If we take August as a stand-alone figure we see a 53% increase in referrals”.
“Aontú would call on the government to facilitate a Dáil debate on these figures as soon as possible, so we can see what extra supports or funding need to go into the cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment services in the State", concluded Tóibín.