A second Breast Surgeon has been appointed to Letterkenny University Hospital, (LUH) and will commence full-time service for breast cancer patients on 24 July 2017.

Saolta Health Care Group CEO Mr Maurice Power today confirmed the appointment. Mr Power also indicated that a working group comprising of representatives from LUH, Saolta Group and the Western Health & Social Care Trust is currently being established to progress the plan to develop a cross border linkage with Breast Services.

The news has been widely welcomed by cancer care groups and public representatives.

Betty Holmes of the Donegal Action for Cancer Care Committee said that it has been more than eight years since the issue was raised.

“DACC first raised this with the then Director of the National Cancer Control Programme, Susan O’Reilly, in June 2009

“This is great news. We are so proud of all our hard and continuous work with this.

“We first put this on our agenda both locally and nationally in June 2009. It has been a long journey but with a start date in July we hope we are here.

“I am very proud of all our continuous hard work on this. It would have been easy to have given up but not for us in DACC,” Betty said.

Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest also expressed their delight in learning the news and welcomed the cross-border link.

“CCC(NW) very much welcome this and have always advocated for cross border partnerships/collaborations in all aspects of Health Care that will enhance services for the cross border population of the North West Region of this Island.

“The appointment of a second Breast Surgeon to LUH and the knowledge that he will commence working in LUH in July will come as a great relief to patients, families, members of the Multidisciplinary Breast Team and staff within the hospital and Saolta Group,” a spokesperson for Co-operating for Cancer Care NorthWest said.

Government Chief Whip and Donegal TD Joe McHugh said the surgeon will be working on a locum basis, but he is confident they will become permanent.

Minister McHugh has also welcomed plans to continue to liaise with cross-border health groups to enhance and improve cancer services.

Minister McHugh said: “I want to acknowledge the tremendous work of local health lobby groups in their desire to see this happen and I am delighted that this is going ahead.

“Together with the new cancer care centre at Altnagelvin and first class services at Letterkenny University Hospital, this Government is investing in cancer care in the North West.

“The second surgeon is on a locum basis from July 24. I am confident it will become permanent, but this surgeon will be working full-time in Letterkenny and that is key to delivering services to women here in Donegal.”