Written Answers. - Cancer Screening Programme.

Michael Ring


319 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children where funding is going to be sourced for the BreastCheck extension roll-out nationwide, in particular to the west; whether the funding is in place; and the amount the extension to the west will cost. [10940/03]

As the Deputy is aware, I announced the national extension of BreastCheck, the national breast screening programme, on 27 March 2003. The BreastCheck clinical unit in the western area will be at University College Hospital Galway, with two associated mobile units. The area of coverage is counties Galway, Sligo, Roscommon, Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim, Clare and Tipperary north. The BreastCheck clinical unit in the southern area will be located at South Infirmary/Victoria Hospital, with three associated mobile units. Counties covered include Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford and Tipperary south.

Under the extension, approximately 130,000 women in the target population 50 to 64 years of age will be eligible for screening. The programme expects to diagnose approximately 400 cancers per annum among this population. Under the business plan submitted by BreastCheck to the Department, the national expansion of the programme to the west and the south is costed at €27 million, including €13 million capital costs.

In relation to funding requirements, I do not anticipate additional revenue requirements for this programme this year. Revenue requirements for subsequent years will be considered in the context of the Estimates process. As regards capital costs, discussions are ongoing involving officials of my Department, BreastCheck and relevant health agencies. Meetings took place the week before last in both Cork and Galway in relation to the detailed roll-out of this programme.