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Hospital access challenges due to ‘unfamiliarity’ with Cancer Registry

By David Lynch - 07th Jan 2024

Cancer Registry

Access to hospitals to collect cancer data remains “an ongoing challenge” in a small number of sites, the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) has stated. A spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that delayed access can occur when there are key personnel changes within the hospital setting. 

“New personnel tend to be unfamiliar with the NCRI, its role and statutory authority and responsibility to collect cancer data from any facility in Ireland and the legal data sharing agreements that exist with the hospital.”

Overall, an increase in the number of electronic cancer data registrars (eCDRs) employed last year means that there have been improvements with the backload of cancer registrations.

Both of these issues were discussed at a board meeting of the NCRI last June, according to minutes.

The minutes noted “ongoing meetings” between the NCRI and hospitals in regard to access. The board discussed “the engagement of oncologists as part of the new strategy development”, which could also be used “to educate this stakeholder group on what the NCRI does and the importance of access to hospital systems”.

The “recent increase” in eCDRs and the impact this would have in clearing the “backload” of cancer registrations was also noted.

The NCRI’s spokesperson told MI that it hired an additional eight eCDRs in 2023.

Asked whether staff retention or retirement of eCDRs posed a particular challenge, the spokesperson said retention was “not an issue”. “As with any specialised job, the retirement of staff creates challenges around knowledge loss, and we have processes and procedures in place to reduce this risk.”

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