Press Release

Minister Announces Appointment of Design Team for BreastCheck

Funding of Approximately €20m Being Made Available

Mr Micheál Martin  T.D.,  Minister for Health and Children, today announced capital funding of approximately €20 million which has been earmarked as part of the Capital Investment Programme 2004-2008 to progress the national roll-out.  The national roll out of the BreastCheck programme will ensure that all women in the 50 to 64 age group throughout the country will have access to breast screening and follow-up treatment where required.  Early detection and effective treatment will lead to improved outcomes for breast cancer patients.

Under the  national expansion of Breastcheck, breast screening and treatment which is currently available in the Eastern region, will become available in the Southern and Western regions.

The Minister has approved the establishment of a Design Team to progress the implementation of the Breastcheck programme in Cork and Galway. The Design Team will work up detailed plans for the construction of both Breastcheck clinical units.

The BreastCheck clinical unit in the Southern area will be located at South Infirmary/Victoria Hospital, with three associated mobile units.  There are approximately 72,000 women in the target population for screening in the Southern region.

The BreastCheck clinical unit in the Western area will be at University College Hospital, Galway, with two associated mobile units.  There are approximately 58,000 women in the target population for invitation to screening in the Western region.

Screening commenced for women in Wexford in March this year and it is expected that screening will commence in Kilkenny and Carlow in 2005.  This extension of screening is part of the Eastern region programme.

Since 1999, there has been a cumulative additional investment of approximately €49 million revenue and €12 million capital funding allocated to the Breastcheck programme. The aim of the breast screening programme is to identify and treat breast disease at an early stage in order to reduce mortality.