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A Registry spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that this matter “is currently under deliberation and nothing has yet been finalised”. Presently, TROs must have an RGN or equivalent nursing qualification.
The issue was discussed at NCRI board meetings in April and September last year, according to minutes seen by MI following a Freedom of Information request.
At the September meeting, it was raised against the background of difficulties in recruiting TROs.
“The issue of whether a nursing qualification is essential for these posts needs to be discussed and explored with the unions,” read the minutes.
“If nursing were not an essential qualification for TRO positions, it would open them up to a far wider pool of potential candidates.”
The NCRI board noted that even with information technology improvements, there would be a need for TROs to collect data “into the foreseeable future”.
A TRO’s role is to review medical records and collect specified information on all cases of cancer in their designated areas and to identify and access all sources of newly-diagnosed cancer cases.
The principal function of the Registry is “to identify, collect, classify, record, store and analyse information relating to the incidence and prevalence of cancer and related tumours in Ireland”.
The September minutes also noted problems with TRO work-spaces in some hospitals. There was “difficulty in maintaining/providing TROs with adequate workplaces and IT system access, particularly in the hospitals that are ‘centres of excellence’ where space is at a premium”, stated the minutes.
Separately, a replacement has not yet been chosen for Dr Susan O’Reilly, who stepped down as NCRI Chair on 14 February.
“A new Chair is to be appointed by the Minister for Health in the next few months,” an NCRI spokesperson said.