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Department has no plans for mandatory cancer registration

Advocating for “cancer registration to be made mandatory” is one of the key objectives of the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) for 2016.

That is according to a copy of the NCRI Objectives for 2016, which was circulated at the NCRI board meeting in February, minutes of which have been seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.

A NCRI spokesperson told MI there have been “no developments with this, as we are awaiting the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill, which should resolve the legal issues”.

Currently, the NCRI enjoys some exemption from data protection law but there are still difficulties that the NCRI hopes the new bill will resolve.

In January, the Irish Cancer Society told this newspaper that it supports the idea that all cancer instances should be registered by individual hospitals.

“The National Cancer Registry has statutory responsibility for collecting and classifying information on all cancer cases which occur in Ireland,” a Department of Health spokesperson told MI.

“This includes the incidence of new cancer cases. It is not envisaged that mandatory registration of cancer cases will be introduced at this time.”

Separately, this newspaper has learned that a new Cancer Registration System (CRS) that was expected to go live in September, most likely will not go fully live until next year.

“The new system has a number of components, some of which should be ready in the autumn, but the full system will probably not go live until 2017,” NCRI’s spokesperson told MI.

“There have been a number of reasons for the delays, but predominantly because of the complexity of the data and the pathways by which it reaches the registry.”

The spokesperson would not reveal the cost of the new system.

“The project is expected to come at the contracted cost but as it is not yet complete, we consider the actual cost to be commercially sensitive information.”

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