The effect of the government cutbacks really hit home last week with the news that Whitfield Hospital had informed the HSE that public patients from across the South East could no longer be facilitated in the absence of a new contract. Since then, a joint statement has been issued by the parties involved saying a process has commenced with a view to resolving outstanding contractual issues and that radiation oncology services will be provided without interruption in the interim.
Radiotherapy at Whitfield has been a godsend for cancer patients since its arrival and opening. It has also taken the immediate pressure off the HSE for not providing such facilities at WRH. High demand shows that there is a need for radiotherapy here and a satisfactory deal to both sides should be worked out.
Our loss of a cabinet minister speaking out on our behalf is noticeable and it makes it harder for us in the region to lobby the HSE and government. Predicting health costs can be hard sometimes because one does not know the level of demand and an innovative solution may be needed to resolve it.