Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Pearse Doherty (Sinn Fein)
I expected such an answer from the Minister and the Department and it is disappointing for me and, more importantly, for those who have to avail of the services now and in the future. I note Deputy Ó Cuív's comments at the beginning of his response, which were not scripted by the Department, saying patients are willing to travel for the best care, and I concur with that. People will travel to the end of the earth to save their loved ones if that is where services are. According to the Government's figures and the O'Higgins report the numbers are there in the north west to provide radiotherapy centres safely. Later this month the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children will turn the sod for a private hospital that will provide radiation services in Donegal. How can the Government say that in the public sector it would be unsafe to have such a service in the north west but in the private sector it will be safe? I appreciate that Deputy Ó Cuív is not in the Department but I ask him to take those concerns back to the Minister for Health and Children.