Tuesday, 31 January 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
289. Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the funding allocated by her Department to the BreastCheck programme in 2005; the amount earmarked for allocation in 2006; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2897/06]
Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): BreastCheck, the national breast screening programme is currently available to women in the 50 to 64 age group in the eastern, north-eastern, south-eastern and midland regions. My Department made revenue funding of €10.606 million available to BreastCheck in 2005 to support the programme. A once off capital grant of €0.5 million was also made available to purchase new digital mammography machines as part of BreastCheck’s replacement programme of analogue equipment. An additional once off capital grant of €0.28 million was made available to upgrade information technology equipment. Planning is under way for the roll out of the screening programme to the remaining regions in the country. The Department’s letter of determination to BreastCheck for 2006 provides for an allocation of €13.693 million. This includes revenue funding of €2.3 million to, inter alia, provide for the recruitment and training of staff to commence the national roll out of the screening programme in 2007. An additional €0.2 million is being made available for improvements in radiographer ratios in the regions covered by the current programme.
291. Mr. Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her plans to introduce a national prostate cancer screening programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2899/06]
Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The chairman of the National Cancer Forum recently submitted a report entitled A Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland, 2006. As part of the development of this strategy, the forum, a multi-disciplinary group of experts in oncology, reviewed all issues relating to screening and has developed criteria against which all future screening programmes will be assessed.
The forum has recommended that there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend the introduction of a population based prostate screening programme in this country. This issue should be reassessed when the results are available from randomised trials currently being conducted. This position is consistent with the recommendations adopted by the European Union which advocate the introduction of cancer screening programmes which have demonstrated their efficacy having regard to professional expertise and priority setting for health care resources. The proposals do not provide for specific recommendations in respect of screening for prostate cancer. Appropriate treatment for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is available at major hospitals throughout the country. Any man who has concerns regarding prostate cancer should contact his GP who will, where appropriate, refer him to the appropriate services in his area.
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