Press Release

Ministers Agree Donegal Patients to be Treated in New Belfast Cancer Centre

Following a meeting in Belfast today, the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Ms Mary Harney TD, said she was pleased that the Northern Ireland Health Minister, Mr Shaun Woodward MP, has now given his support for work to begin to allow patients from Donegal to be treated at the new Belfast Cancer Centre.

The Tánaiste said that officials on both sides will now begin work on the detailed arrangements for these treatments to begin after the new Centre opens in March. She said “this is a radical example of co-operation between the health services north and south to provide a service that will make a real difference to the lives of cancer patients.”

The Belfast Cancer Centre will be one of the most advanced in Europe when it opens, with eight linear accelerators and a high complement of specialist staff. It will provide patients from Donegal with cancer treatment much closer to home.

The Tánaiste emphasised her belief that these arrangements will not diminish in any respect the level of services offered to people in Northern Ireland by their health service.

The Tánaiste and Minister Woodward also discussed suicide prevention strategies and agreed to explore proposals for measures to reduce the unacceptable high suicide rate, particularly among young men.

Mr Woodward plans to visit Dublin again in the near future to work on further areas of co-operation and mutual interest between the health services north and south.