Written answers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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168. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to any perceived increase in cancer diagnosis during the Covid-19 pandemic. [59768/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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From the outset of the pandemic, great focus has been placed by the health services on encouraging people to come forward. It is important that anyone with concerns about cancer visit their GP, who will arrange appropriate follow-up care. Our cancer diagnostic and treatment services are open, and our healthcare staff will provide any necessary care. 

The number of people coming forward with cancer concerns decreased significantly during Covid Wave 1 from March to May 2020. However, we have seen a recovery in the figures since that time:

- the total number of GP e-referrals to cancer Rapid Access Clinics for January-October this year stands at 127% of the activity for the corresponding period in 2019;

- the total number of patients seen across all Rapid Access Clinics for January-September 2021 stands at 99% of the corresponding period in 2019; and 

- cancers diagnosed in Rapid Access Clinics from January-September 2021 are at 96% of the comparable 2019 figure.

An allocation €12m was made this year to ensure that our cancer services continue to recover from the disruption caused by Covid-19. This funding is being used to address backlogs, extend clinic times, provide additional clinics, increase diagnostic capacity and provide locum/temporary support.

In addition, an extra €20 million was allocated for the continued implementation of the National Cancer Strategy in 2021, as well as €10 million for cancer screening.  This is having a significant impact on access to cancer diagnostics, treatment and supports. 


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