Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Department of Health
1591. To ask the Minister for Health if he plans to engage with his healthcare colleagues and counterparts in Northern Ireland to establish a cancer services catch up programme task force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34374/21]
There are no plans for the establishment of a cancer services taskforce. The continued development of cancer services in Ireland is guided by the aims and objectives of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026. The Strategy has received near universal support for the way forward that is mapped out and its implementation is a Programme for Government commitment, and is part of the implementation of Sláintecare.
We have seen significant progress on the implementation of the Strategy over the past four years, with clear evidence-based policy direction from my Department and strong implementation by the HSE's National Cancer Control Programme. Funding of €20m has been allocated for the continued implementation of the National Cancer Strategy this year. This funding is facilitating developments across prevention, diagnosis, treatment and patient supports.
Furthermore, an additional €12m has been allocated specifically for the restoration of cancer services in the context of Covid-19. This funding is supporting hospitals in addressing backlogs, extending clinic times, providing additional clinics, increasing diagnostic capacity and providing locum support. It is also supporting virtual clinics and more accurate triage, and is facilitating infrastructure improvements and equipment purchases to increase capacity across Rapid Access Clinics and surgical, medical and radiation oncology services.
While there are no plans for the establishment of a cancer services taskforce with Northern Ireland, there is already strong and regular North/South collaboration in relation to oncology matters. In particular, we have worked very closely together in relation to the provision of radiotherapy services for Irish patients in the Northwest Cancer Centre, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Derry. I look forward to continued engagement with counterparts in Northern Ireland to the benefit of cancer patients North and South.
1593. To ask the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be seen for occupational therapy, psychological therapy and physiotherapy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34470/21]
As this Parliamentary Question relates to an operational issue, it is a matter for the HSE. However, members of the Oireachtas are advised that the HSE is currently unable to access the information to answer Parliamentary Questions due to the recent cyber-attack, which has required a temporary shut-down of HSE IT systems. The disruption to service is on-going, and the HSE is working hard to restore its IT capacity and resume normal services. Members of the Oireachtas will be advised as soon as the HSE is again in a position to provide responses to PQs and are encouraged to resubmit their Parliamentary Questions at that point.