Mayo urology service declined by HSE - Cowley

Dr Jerry Cowley Independent Candidate for Mayo says that he has learned that the HSE were offered a consultant urology biopsy service at Mayo University Hospital Castlebar five years ago but they declined to initiate such a service. Dr Cowley stated that Galway based consultants dealing with Mayo urology patients saw a great need for a urology consultant prostate biopsy service in Mayo but this was not acted on by the HSE despite the recommendation of the specialist urology consultants.

Dr Cowley explained that this would have involved capital expenditure in equipment which would be required to provide the new service in Mayo. Dr Cowley expressed his abhorrence and annoyance about this situation as delay was occurring already which was costing lives and affecting the chances of better survival for Mayo patients with prostate cancer. Dr Cowley has already highlighted the urgent need for a full Mayo bladder/prostate urology unit at Mayo University Hospital Castlebar, where 1,500 Mayo patients are waiting up to three years or more to be seen by the consultant.

He explained that many people will have advanced cancer by the time they are finally seen by the consultant urologist. After that there is still unacceptable delay in getting the necessary scans to find out the extent of spread of the cancer. The process of waiting to see the specialist and having the cancer diagnosed and treatment commence can take three years or more. In the case of cancer this is unacceptable.

"I am aware of a particular case referred in September 2013 with elevated PSA marker enzyme for cancer of the prostate and a suspicious prostate on examination who had to wait two years to be seen by the specialist in Mayo University Hospital Castlebar. When finally seen last September 2015 he was referred to the Galway urology unit for urgent biopsy of his prostate by the visiting consultant urologist. To date he has not had his urgent prostate biopsy. He was called twice since Christmas in January and again this month and each time he was phoned up the day before to tell him his appointment for the biopsy in the Galway unit was cancelled. The reason given was that there was a backlog.

He continued saying "This is typical of the outreach service available to Mayo, Ireland’s third largest county, from the Galway centre-of- excellence. This is the situation for the past nine years where we have had four Government TDs including the Taoiseach and a Minister of State. It was the same situation with orthopaedics in 1989 when I started the campaign for a Mayo Orthopaedic Unit. The people of Mayo are no less deserving of these essential services in their own county than anywhere else."It would appear that the HSE are putting the cost of biopsy equipment before the survival chances of Mayo prostate cancer patients. The specialists were prepared to provide an essential prostate biopsy service in Mayo but the HSE blocked them. This is scandalous and unforgivable and needs to be rectified immediately. "

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