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Written Answers. - Cancer Screening Programme.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 180. Dr. Cowley Information on Jerry Cowley Zoom on Jerry Cowley  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  if the BreastCheck services will be extended nationally by agreeing to provide the ?6 million necessary in 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26965/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The board of BreastCheck has submitted a business plan to my Department for the national expansion of the programme, requiring a further investment of €27 million, including €13 million capital costs.

A number of key issues have been raised by health boards and health professionals in relation [1563]to the national roll out of BreastCheck which need to be addressed in advance of national expansion. In particular, there is concern that under the BreastCheck proposal, women would be referred for surgery outside their regions, despite the significant investment which has been made in the development of symptomatic breast disease services at regional level. This investment is in line with the report of the sub-group of the national cancer forum on the development of services for symptomatic breast disease.

My Department is currently in discussions with the executive of BreastCheck in relation to the expansion of the programme and especially the linkages with the symptomatic services. As I advised the Deputy at the Select Committee on Health and Children on 5 December last, these issues must be resolved before any extension beyond the eastern region. Any woman irrespective of her age or residence who has immediate concerns or symptoms should contact her GP who, where appropriate, will refer her to the symptomatic services in her area.

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