Breast cancer services under threat in Donegal

Letterkenny General Hospital.

Letterkenny General Hospital.

DONEGAL people were horrified today to learn that a second consultant from Letterkenny General Hospital, in as many weeks, is saying he did not have the resources to do his job – care for the sick people of Donegal.

Mr Michael Sugrue, the Breast Surgeon at LGH and representative of the Irish Hospital Consultants Organisation has been told he is not getting the much-needed second surgeon to assist his team here, which puts the entire service in Donegal at risk. Last week Urologist and General Surgeon Mr Kevin Moran said he was resigning due to a lack of resources.


Mr Sugrue’s authority is also being seriously undermined with referral letters from GPs in Donegal to the breast clinic at the hospital now to be sent to Galway University Hospital to be triaged and then sent back to Mr Sugrue’s team. Mr Sugrue believes he is being driven out of his post.

Ms Betty Holmes of Donegal Action Against Cancer Care (DACC) which fought so hard to get breast cancer services here which has led to the development of a radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin, began warning of this downgrade some months ago.
“I call on the people who get paid crazy money to represent us to do what is needed to ensure the future of services at LGH,” Ms Holmes said.

Meanwhile government TD Joe McHugh expressed his anger at Tony Canavan of the Saolta Hospital Group (formerly west north west hospital group) who insisted the decision has been made that there will be no second breast surgeon for LGH and his indication that breast services are to be moved back to Galway.

“I am stunned that Tony Canavan would come on Highland Radio two days before a meeting I have arranged in Dublin and make an announcement like that, is totally unacceptable. I have rung the minister’s office and I will be meeting him tonight,” Deputy McHugh said.

He spoke of “one or two people who might have agendas of their own” in Galway and said he was not interested in that.
“The biggest issue here is for women in the north west and that we hold on to the service we have and build on it,” he added.

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