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New appointments a priority under cancer strategy

The HSE Service Plan 2018 provided the NCCP with €5.5 million for developing new cancer services.

“We have additional money,” National Director of the NCCP Dr Jerome Coffey told the Medical Independent (MI).

“So we can start to put new posts in this year. And that is what we are doing at the moment, deciding which posts and where.”

The National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 states, for example, that there are significant impediments to the training, recruitment and retention of specialist oncology nurses at present that need to be addressed. According to the Strategy, the “long and complicated pathway” to advanced nursing practice has acted as an impediment to the recruitment to, and development of, these roles.

The Strategy also refers to a critical shortage of radiographers in Ireland, which needs to be addressed even before any expansion to increase capacity. Dr Coffey said the NCCP has examined all the recommendations of the Strategy in detail.

“We are at the point now of sequencing that into a project with many, many sub-projects,” according to Dr Coffey. “We are determining what is the first thing to do, what is the next thing to do. Also, some of the recommendations have time deadlines, so we need to keep to those.”

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