Hospitals under spotlight following delayed cancer diagnosis

Hospitals across the country could be scrutinised for failings around delayed cancer diagnoses after a hospital in County Donegal was investigated for a number of alleged missed cancers.

he Dail heard how patients suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment for endometrial cancer at Letterkenny University Hospital.

Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty said the delays had “devastating consequences” for the women and their families.

Mr Doherty said that a review into the scandal found that of the 123 cases of endometrial cancer over a ten-year period in Letterkenny University Hospital, one in three women experienced a delay in diagnosis.

One in five women suffered serious consequences as a result, he added.

“A number of these women have since passed away, some as a result of the delay in diagnosis,” Mr Doherty said.

“The review uncovered a litany of failures which had devastating impacts and consequences for these women.

“Today we learned that things have gone from bad to worse.

“A further three cases of delayed diagnosis have come to light in Letterkenny University Hospital, bringing the total number to 41.

“This begs the question as to how many more delayed diagnoses are we unaware of? It is simply not acceptable under any circumstances.

“The families affected are rightly demanding answers.”

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said that where failings or shortcomings are found in any particular hospital, it is important to “apply scrutiny” nationwide.

“If things are going wrong in one hospital it is wrong to assume that everything is okay everywhere else,” he added.

“Too many times we have learned that failings identified in a particular hospital or service are not confined to that service but are a more widespread problem.

“We have seen that with other reports in the past.”

Mr Doherty also told the Dail that many of the families affected by the scandal have been left “disgusted” by the individual reports into their care received from hospital group Saolta.

He said that several families have come forward and described the reports as “inaccurate and lacking accountability”.

“This requires Government intervention and action,” Mr Doherty added.

“For the families of those women who have passed away as a result of the failure of their treatment in Letterkenny University Hospital, will the Tanaiste give this the priority it deserves?

“The women of Donegal and indeed their families deserve nothing less.”

Mr Varadkar said he will raise the issue with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly today.

PA Media

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