World Cancer Day: ‘Urgent action’ needed to tackle waiting lists

Commenting on World Cancer Day, Irish Cancer Society Director of Advocacy Rachel Morrogh said: “On World Cancer Day, the Irish Cancer Society is calling for Government to take urgent and immediate action on waiting lists so that timely care is accessible to all who need it.

“This year’s World Cancer Day theme of ‘closing the care gap’ could not be more relevant. In Ireland, where barriers to accessing cancer care, in the form of waiting lists, have grown considerably. This has been over the course of the pandemic.

“These barriers are being experienced by cancer patients right along their care pathway. We need to focus on how to address the current problems while securing the future of cancer care. This is in the form of enhanced services and a full workforce. This is so the needs of growing numbers of people with cancer are met. This needs to happen if patients are to stand the best chance of surviving cancer. They need to go on to have a good quality of life.

Rachel continued:

“The speed and scale of innovation that has occurred over the last two years of the pandemic provides great hope that meaningful change can happen. Advances at both community and hospital levels, along with the spirit of collaboration, determination and leadership. It also enabled cancer services to keep running during the pandemic. However, keeping services running is not the same as making progress at the pace that is needed to transform cancer survival rates.

“Unless an expanded cancer system is properly protected and prioritised, and a full cancer workforce is recruited and retained, progress in cancer survival will slow. It is patients who will feel the full effects of this – physically, mentally and in their long-term quality of life. We cannot let this happen and, this is why the Irish Cancer Society is calling for political commitment and resourcing from Government to tackle waiting lists, while accelerating the implementation of the National Cancer Strategy.

“Now is the time to claw lost years of progress back from Covid.”

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