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Hospitals not meeting systemic anti-cancer therapy targets

The failure of hospitals to meet targets for the delivery of systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) is of increasing concern to the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), the Medical Independent (MI) can report.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the NCCP’s executive management team in April, the minutes of which were seen by this newspaper through Freedom of Information legislation.

According to the minutes, University Hospital Limerick; University Hospital Waterford; Galway University Hospital; the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin; and St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, were struggling to meet their medical oncology key performance indicator (KPI) in relation to SACT

The KPI states that for patients receiving a new parenteral systemic therapy in a day ward setting, the timeline between the date that it is agreed that the patient is deemed ready to treat and the administration of the therapy will not exceed 15 working days.

The meeting heard that of the designated cancer centres, only St James’s Hospital and Beaumont Hospital in Dublin had “maintained their KPIs”.

“Outside of Kilkenny, the other SACT hospitals are meeting their KPIs,” according to the minutes.

It was suggested there may be a need to provide additional “pandemic funding” for day wards.

A NCCP spokesperson told MI the returns for May had “a number of gaps” due to the HSE cyberattack; however, from the data available, a number of centres were still failing to meet the KPI.

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