Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (150, 151, 152)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

279 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will immediately allocate resources for designated transport for patients travelling for radiotherapy treatment. [25174/04]

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Brian O'Shea

Question:

307 Mr. O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when she is to receive the recommendations of the National Radiation Oncology Co-ordination Group in regard to the provision of designated transport for cancer patients receiving radiotherapy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25489/04]

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Brian O'Shea

Question:

308 Mr. O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when the National Radiation Oncology Co-ordinating Group will report to her with recommendations to facilitate improved access to radiotherapy in regard to designated transport and accommodation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25490/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 279, 307, and 308 together.

The Government's objective is to provide a model of cancer care which ensures that patients with cancer receive the most appropriate and best quality of care regardless of their place of residence. In order to achieve this objective, an integrated and co-ordinated approach to the allocation of resources for designated transport and accomodation for patients receiving radiotherapy treatment is required.

As recommended in the report, The Development of Radiation Oncology Services in Ireland, the national radiation oncology co-ordinating group has been established. The group comprises clinical, technical, managerial, academic and nursing expertise from different geographic regions. The group's remit encompasses recommending measures to facilitate improved access to existing and planned services, including transport and accommodation. The group has consulted with the Eastern Regional Health Authority and all health boards in relation to the current transport arrangements for radiation oncology patients. The group is expected to develop proposals in this area at its next meeting, which is due to take place in November.