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Lack of staff for systemic therapy programme classed as ‘risk’ — NCCP

The lack of staffing for the systemic therapy programme presents a risk to implementing a new model of care in the area, according to the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP).

A meeting of the NCCP’s executive management team in March heard that additional manpower resources are required for the systemic therapy programme to carry out its work.

The minutes of the meeting, obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) through Freedom of Information law, state with reduced staffing, “the programme will focus on areas in relation to Brexit and NCIS [National Cancer Information System] go-live”.

 The meeting heard how the NCIS was due to start running in May.

The system is designed to ensure optimal and safe delivery of systemic cancer treatment, including e-prescribing and e-administration of chemotherapy, for the treatment of cancer, in publicly-funded hospitals.

“It was agreed that lack of STP [systemic therapy programme] resources will impact on the model of care project and agreed that it should be added to NCCP risk register,” according to the minutes.



Minutes of the May meeting state no additional resources were allocated in the HSE Service Plan 2019 to support the systemic therapy programme project requirements in terms of cancer strategy recommendations.

These resources have been sought again for 2020, according to the minutes.

“Indicative figures at present show €4.5 million available to resource NCCP new developments across the whole of the country and for all programmes within the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026,” a spokesperson for the NCCP told MI.

Additional resources for systemic therapy released in the latter half of 2019 are: Pharmacy posts related to Brexit in order to facilitate a quality assurance programme; support for the systemic therapy programme to “build resilience” across the hospitals providing systemic therapy; and some additional equipment costs.

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