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At a meeting of the NCCP Executive in March, the minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent (MI) through Freedom of Information legislation, the transfer of patients from the Mater to the specialist cancer genetics service in St James’s was discussed.
“Mater has not yet confirmed if they will take back patients after having been seen in James’s,” according to the minutes. “This is holding up transfer of patient list to James’s. [The] matter is critical and needs to resolved immediately.”
The NCCP hereditary cancer programme oversees the development of specialist cancer genetics services, which relate to an individual’s inherited predisposition to developing cancer.
The specialist cancer genetics services are provided by St James’s and the Clinical Genetics Department at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
The issue was in relation to patients who had been referred to a service in the Mater that was no longer in operation. It was arranged that these patients would be transferred to the cancer genetics service at St James’s.
Patients are referred to a specialist cancer genetics service for an assessment of their likely risk, followed by counselling and genetic testing, if indicated. Management recommendations are made based on the results of the risk assessment and genetic test results.
Subsequently, patients are referred back to the original hospital for follow-up, which may involve clinics, surveillance imaging, drug treatment and/or risk-reducing surgery.
An NCCP spokesperson told this newspaper that the issue has now been resolved.
“Clarity was requested from the Mater that they would continue to provide the required follow-up for these patients and this assurance was given,” said the spokesperson.