Dáil Éireann - Volume 599 - 23 March, 2005

Written Answers - Cancer Screening Programme.

  134. Mr. O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will make available mammograms for women in Waterford on the basis that there is the capacity to treat them in the symptomatic unit pending the implementation of BreastCheck in Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9551/05]

  Ms Harney:Any woman, irrespective of her age or residence, who has concerns about breast cancer should contact her GP who, where appro[1840] priate, will refer her to the symptomatic services in her area. More than €60 million has been invested in the development of symptomatic breast disease services since 2000. This investment has enabled the appointment of additional surgeons with an interest in breast disease, histopathologists and radiologists to enhance the delivery of breast cancer services nationally.

BreastCheck, having considered a number of options, has advised my Department that the full implementation of the national breast screening programme is the best approach to ensuring that a quality screening programme is available to all women in the target age group throughout the country. The roll out of this programme is a major priority in the development of cancer services. The roll out requires significant capital and human resources, including two static clinical units, mobile screening units, multi-disciplinary consultant teams and radiographers together with technical and administrative support.

A capital investment of €21 million has been approved to construct and equip the two clinical units and to provide for mobile units. The investment will ensure that breast screening and follow up treatment, where appropriate, is available to all women in the target group throughout the country. I am confident that the target date of 2007 for the expansion of BreastCheck nationally will be met.