Press Release

Minister O’Malley launches private radiation oncology development at Mid-Western Regional Hospital

Mr Tim O’Malley TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today welcomed the opening of the Private Radiation Oncology Development at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital which is a new development funded by the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust.  Established in 1987, the Trust, in association with the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am and the Friends of the Trust have raised over €10 million for the purchase of important hospital equipment, including a C.T. Scanner, a mammography machine, a MRI Suite and a Hydrotherapy pool.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said “I would like to pay tribute to the work of the Trust who, along with the new private radiotherapy development, have also funded various research projects in the Mid-Western Health Board area.  The voluntary sector plays a key role in the delivery of health care services in this country, and I am continuously impressed with the hard work, the commitment and the dedication of all those involved.”

Cancer places a huge burden on our society.  One in three individuals in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime.  The latest report from the National Cancer Registry shows that just over 20,000 new cancers occurred annually between 1994 and 2000 and that approximately 7,500 people died from cancer each year in the same time period.

This Report also shows that cancer survival is improving in Ireland for all the major cancers.  The Registry compared five-year survival from cancer for the period 1998-2000 with that for 1995-1997 and found that for women breast cancer survival improved from 73% to 78% and colorectal cancer survival from 51% to 55%.  Survival also improved for men, with colorectal cancer survival improving from 47% to 55% and prostate cancer from 64% to 76%.  Survival from many other cancers including lymphoma, leukaemia, melanoma, cancers of stomach and bladder also showed improvement.

The Registry highlights the higher levels of cancer treatment as one factor in this survival improvement.  The percentage of patients having radiotherapy and chemotherapy for many of the major cancers has increased.

Under the National Cancer Strategy 1996, major developments in the treatment and care of patients with cancer have taken place.  Since 1997, there has been a cumulative investment of approximately €550million in the development of cancer services.

In the Mid-Western Health Board, major progress has been made in recent years.  Since 1997, almost €48 million has been allocated to the Mid-Western Health Board specifically for the development of oncology and related services.  An additional eight Consultant posts have been approved in the Mid Western Health Board since 1997 in key areas of cancer services such as Medical Oncology, Radiology, Palliative Care, Histopathology, and Haematology.

Minister O’Malley thanked the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust and its Chairman, Mr Louis Craven, Dr Rajish Gupta, Regional Director of Cancer Services in the MWHB, Mr JP McManus, the Invitational Pro-Am and the Friends of the Trust for their hard work and efforts in raising the funding required for this unit and other developments.