Building work on the new Cancer Services Unit for public patients in Waterford Regional Hospital is expected to start next year, according to local Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Kenneally.

He said plans for the new unit had been fast-tracked as part of the HSE’s rolling capital plan for 2007-2011. ‘The plan is updated yearly to accommodate priority projects like the new Waterford facility.

“A team of architects and engineers, in consultation with medical cancer treatment experts, will progress the planning and scoping of the project this year”, said Deputy Kenneally.

The new unit represents an investment of about €15 million, excluding staffing costs. It includes 42 inpatient beds, 30 day treatment places and an associated pharmacy for the necessary dispensing of chemotherapy drugs and other medication.

“Works are scheduled before the end of this year to refurbish existing facilities in WRH where chemotherapy day care services are catered for. Work on the comprehensive new Cancer Services Unit will then be a major priority for the hospital next year.

“Together with the Whitfield Clinic, where the treatment of public cancer patients is well under way, the new Cancer Services Unit will bring cancer care in the south-eastern region to a level people rightly expect”, concluded Deputy Kenneally.


BreastCheck development

Meanwhile, City Labour Party Councillor and Health Forum member Seamus Ryan has confirmed that WRH has been approached to be a base for BreastCheck mobile screening units. He has also been informed that the mobile units have been commissioned and the tendering process is now complete.

He said: “BreastCheck will take delivery of the units later this year on a phased basis, through to next springtime. The schedule for the different counties, including Waterford, will be dictated by operational factors. The locations are generally in larger cities and towns and BreastCheck will negotiate with suitable hospitals and locations in advance”.

He described as “extremely positive” the fact that WRH had been approached to be a base. But he added that following all kind of delays and unfulfilled promises, the campaign to deliver BreastCheck for the women of Waterford would continue until it was actually in place.