Alan Hussey, Plastic Surgeon in University Hospital Galway, has spoken about the urgent need for a new fit-for-purpose cancer centre in the West of Ireland.
Mr Hussey was diagnosed with cancer in June 2019 and he is now experiencing first-hand what it is like to be a patient receiving cancer care in the West.
He went from performing reconstructive plastic surgery on patients to undergoing two surgeries himself.
Mr Hussey’s experience as a doctor, and as a patient, has led him to row in behind a call for greater urgency in building a new fit-for-purpose cancer centre at UHG to replace severely outdated facilities which are struggling to cope with patient demand.
The surgeon said that the day ward, where patients receive treatment, is constantly crowded and at times there are not enough lounger chairs to cope with the numbers coming through and some have to be looked after in outpatient cubicles.
He said that there is great expertise at the hospital and the nursing staff are wonderful and doing everything they can, but the facilities are dated and not equipped to cope with the growing numbers of patients who need care.
Due to its largely older population and how highly dispersed the region is, the areas of the country with the highest incidence of cancer are the west and the north-west.
Although there has been an improvement nationally in survival rates for cancer, this region still has the lowest survival rates for those with breast and lung cancer.
Prof Michael Kerin, Director Saolta-NUI Galway Cancer Network, said that this cancer centre is “drastically needed to ensure that all cancer patients in the west and north-west of Ireland will be able to avail of timely diagnoses and the treatment and care they need.”
Last week, neatly 200 people attended an event in the Salthill Hotel in support of the proposed Cancer Centre in UHG and to raise more awareness of its necessity.