The national roll-out of BreastCheck, which I announced last year, requires detailed planning to include essential infrastructure. 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 Riding.
A capital project team has been established to develop a brief for the capital infrastructure needed for the static unit in the west. BreastCheck submitted a number of options for the construction of this unit on the grounds of University College Hospital, Galway. This is being considered by my Department in the context of the framework for capital investment 2004-2008 and is being discussed with the Department of Finance at present.
An essential element of the roll-out of the programme is investment in education and training of radiographers in particular. BreastCheck employs qualified and experienced radiographers who have specialised postgraduate training and qualifications related to mammography. BreastCheck and the symptomatic services combined have a significant ongoing recruitment and training requirement in this area. I also announced the development of a training centre for radiographers and mammography at Eccles Street. Resources are being made available to BreastCheck to support this initiative, which will cost in excess of €750,000, and the centre is expected to be completed in the second half of 2004.
Any woman, irrespective of her age or residence, who has immediate concerns or symptoms should contact her GP who, where appropriate, will refer her to the symptomatic services in her area.