Members of the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) executive management team (EMT) highlighted their concern about the lack of funding to support the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.
At a meeting in October, which took place before Budget 2024, the EMT discussed indications from the Department of Health and HSE that there there would be “little funding” for cancer services this year.
“Members noted that a lack of incremental funding for the cancer strategy creates a risk of missed opportunities to introduce technological advances to Ireland, an inability to expand clinics and patient care improvements (eg, follow-up clinics),” according to the minutes.
The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) stated in its pre-Budget submission that ringfenced, multi-annual funding was required to implement the outstanding recommendations in the cancer strategy.
The ICS called for €20 million to be provided in development funding in 2024.
In the Oireachtas last month, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed there was no ringfenced funding for implementation of the cancer strategy this year.
However, the Minister said there will be “significant investment in the progress of cancer services nonetheless”.
“The intention is to provide €30 million for new drugs this year. Typically, approximately one-third of that will go to cancer drugs. That will be new investment in new treatments and medicines for patients.”
While there is no ringfenced funding for the NCCP, there would be “important and additional capacity”.
The Minister was responding to questions from Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy David Cullinane.
At the NCCP EMT meeting in December, it was noted that the HSE National Service Plan 2024, which has yet to be published, would contain €3 million for community cancer support services.