Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
Cancer Services Provision
857. To ask the Minister for Health if further funding will be provided for staffing at a facility (details supplied) under the programme referred to in correspondence; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this rural centre is further from hospitals specialising in this treatment; if he will review correspondence attached as part of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3700/20]
The National Cancer Strategy 2017 – 2026 recommends;
‘Each designated cancer centre will establish a dedicated service to address the psychosocial needs of patients with cancer and their families. This will operate through a hub and spoke model, utilising the MDT approach, to provide equitable patient access’.
In reality, this means that the establishment of multi-disciplinary psycho-oncology teams in each of the cancer centres is required. These teams will deliver a comprehensive hospital-based clinical service and will also provide a community support function into community cancer support groups. The strategy emphasises the prioritisation of Psycho-Oncology and survivorship programmes as a core part of cancer care. It also recognises the vital importance of community cancer support.
The NCCP has submitted an application for funding for psychosocial community support and cancer survivorship programmes as part of the National Service Plan for 2020. The outcome of this application is imminent and has been prioritised by the Department of Health in their correspondence with the HSE. We are hopeful that we will receive funding towards this very important service. To date applications for funding have been received from 28 community cancer support centres and groups.
The NCCP has had on-going communication with community cancer support centres and groups who are key stakeholders in our endeavours to provide a comprehensive integrated hospital and community psychosocial support service for patients and their families. The NCCP are currently devising a set of standards for community cancer support centres and groups and an association will be created. If funding is available all applications will be considered on a co-funding model prioritising core services; information, psychological support and counselling and survivorship programmes.