Thursday, 30 November 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
88. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if it is true that in a Health Service Executive area there is no aggressive oncology treatment for older people with cancer as stated in a document (details supplied); if so, the details of where this age limit applies; the action he will take to change this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40992/06]
Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): The reference to cancer treatment in the document referred to by the Deputy is in fact an extract from an earlier study entitled Perceptions of Ageism in Health and Social Services in Ireland, 2005. The Government’s policy is to ensure that persons with cancer receive appropriate, timely and quality treatment for their condition regardless of their age. There were 93,549 patients discharged from hospital following a diagnosis of cancer in 2005, representing an increase of 69% since 1997. A significant proportion of these discharges related to elderly persons. I am committed to further significant investment to provide quality assured treatment to cancer patients on an equitable basis.
The Strategy for Cancer Control, which I launched last June, makes recommendations in relation to the continuum of cancer care from health promotion, prevention and screening through to treatment services, supportive and palliative care and research. The Strategy, which is being implemented, emphasises the need to address inequalities and improve quality.
The Deputy’s question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the research in question examined and to respond directly to the Deputy.
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