Thursday, 11 April 2019

Questions (138)

Bríd Smith


138. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the provision of breast clinic services in St. James's Hospital is being cut back; the steps he will take in relation to same; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that carriers of genetic braca 1 and 2 are having repeat visits and check-ups extended from once every six months to once every 12 months, that family history clinics are being closed and those attending are referred back to their general practitioners; his views on these cuts to the services; and the reason the services are being cut. [17094/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In parallel with the Rapid Access Clinic for Symptomatic Breast Disease in St James's Hospital, a Familial Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Service has evolved to provide a clinical service to women who are considered to be at higher than average risk of developing cancer in their lifetime. Due to increased referral rates to the symptomatic breast disease clinic, there were some restrictions on access to the familial service for a period in 2018.

Resources have since been provided to the hospital's breast services, including for additional radiology and pathology support. One of the hospital's two mammography machines was replaced and a third machine has recently been installed. Capacity for mammography has been a major part of the challenge in meeting demand for breast services in St James's. I am advised that the Familial Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Service at St James's Hospital is now restored.