Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (951)

Bríd Smith


951. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Health the length of the wait time for a woman to avail of a mammogram; if the wait time is improving or worsening; his plans to reduce these waiting times; the reason it is possible to get a mammogram in the private sector with a general practitioner referral letter in a much quicker timeframe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7388/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics for patients with suspected breast disease have been established by the HSE's National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) in the eight designated cancer centres (with a satellite symptomatic breast disease clinic from UHG operating in Letterkenny University Hospital).

The performance of each centre in meeting access targets for both urgent and non-urgent patients is monitored by the NCCP and is reviewed on a monthly basis. The target timeframes are for 95% of patients triaged as urgent by their GP to be seen within 10 working days; and 95% of patients triaged as non-urgent by their GP to be seen within 12 weeks. The NCCP liaises on an on-going basis with hospitals to identify measures that can be taken to improve performance, where necessary. Performance for January - November 2020 (most recent data available) is as follows:

Jan-Nov 2019

Jan-Nov 2019

Jan-Nov 2020

Jan-Nov 2020


Number of Attendances

% Attendances within KPI

Number of Attendances

% Attendances within KPI

Urgent Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics





Non-Urgent Symptomatic Breast Disease Clinics





The National Action Plan on Covid-19 identified the continued provision of cancer care as a priority. All Symptomatic Breast Disease clinics remained open and accepting referrals during the Covid-19 pandemic with clinical priority given to referrals triaged as urgent, in line with guidance issued by the NCCP. Funding of €12m has been allocated for the restoration of cancer services in the context of Covid-19. This funding is being utilised to support the restoration of cancer services to 95% of 2019 capacity.