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An NCRI spokesperson also told the Medical Independent (MI) that the Registry is seeking remote access to data from other hospitals.
Concern over securing proper accommodation for Cancer Data Registrars (CDRs) at hospitals was raised at the NCRI Board meeting last October, according to minutes seen by MI.
The NCRI Board noted that if remote access to hospital data was allowed, then the issue regarding accommodation “would be alleviated”.
A Registry spokesperson said that the NCRI has approached different hospitals regarding the availability of remote access to data.
“This is in its infancy and is currently being piloted successfully through NCRI [office] in one major cancer centre,” an NCRI spokesperson told MI. The Registry said it was not in a position to tell this newspaper which major cancer centre is involved.
But the spokesperson said it is “working well so far”.
“Approaches have been made to hospital management in a number of other public and private hospitals for remote access to various systems within their hospitals,” the spokesperson continued.
“The Department of Health is aware of this and NCRI is following recommendations 51 and 52, as laid out in the latest National Cancer Strategy.”
The NCRI spokesperson said “there are plans to extend this to the Cork and Kerry regions and this is currently under review”.
“This is important, as office accommodation in some hospitals is limited. Sourcing such accommodation for non-hospital staff, such as CDRs, is a challenge and takes a considerable amount of time for NCRI to organise,” continued the spokesperson.
“Remote access would eliminate such time-consuming efforts and allow faster access to data. It would also leave more office space available for hospital staff.”
Separately, as first reported in MI last September, the NCRI began talks last year with the Department of Health on altering the qualifications needed to become a CDR. The NCRI told this paper that it would like to recruit CDRs (formerly known as Tumour Registration Officers (TROs)) at a clerical grade, rather than at a nursing grade.
However, according to an NCRI spokesperson, there has not been “any movement on this to date”.
“The reason for the proposed change is to open-up the recruitment process to a wider pool of candidates so that we are not restricted to employing nurses only to the CDR posts,” the spokesperson noted.
“This would open it up to the allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists, therapeutic radiographers, etc. It would also leave it open to medical doctors who have applied in the past.”