Press Release

Statement by Minister for Health Mary Harney, T.D. on review of radiology breast diagnosis at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

“I wish to express my deep concern at the events in Portlaoise involving the mis-diagnosis of a number of women who had been tested for the presence of cancer.”

“These events are very traumatic for the women involved and for their families and I wish to express my sincere sympathy for the considerable distress and hurt caused.”

“The HSE will carry out the essential task of providing the women with all necessary treatment, services and counselling as a matter of urgency.”

“I understand the review phase of the radiology breast diagnosis will be completed at the Midland Regional Hospital within a week and I am advised that, of the nearly 3,000 mammograms reviewed, the vast majority of them have been found to be normal.”

“It is critical that the review be completed as quickly as possible so that uncertainty being experienced by any patient should be removed.”

Centres of Excellence – ‘absolutely necessary’

“This event underscores the absolute necessity of proceeding forthwith with the plan to establish eight leading cancer centres in Ireland. This is the best and only realistic assurance to patients that cancer diagnosis and care will be of the highest quality.”

“Teams of specialist consultants will work together on diagnosis and treatment, and will sustain their skill levels and expertise by working together on a sufficient number of cases. Cancer services, such as chemotherapy, that can safely be provided locally will be under the direction of one of the eight centres as part of the National Cancer Control Programme.”

“I reiterate that patient safety and quality care must come first in all we do. No institution and no set way of doing things is more important than that.”