first_imgLetterkenny General Hospital.Donegal Action for Cancer Care is a totally voluntary group working in Donegal just over ten years ago.DACC initially came about to secure a permanent Breast Surgeon for Letterkenny Hospital. When we secured that we in our innocence we thought that would be it. It became clear that there was a lot more work to do and we have been doing it ever since.Betty Holmes of DACC.Firstly may we say a very sincere thank you to all those good & generous people who supported us last Saturday 24th Oct when we collected at the door of Dunne’s Stores Oldtown Road. Indeed thanks also to the management & staff at Dunne’s for this opportunity & how well they treated us. The very sincere words of encouragement and thanks that we got from people when we were collecting reassure us that people value the work we do. For those who hadn’t heard of us and wanted to know more, thank you also. DACC raised €732.86 for the few hours we were there.DACC have not done any fundraising at all over a few years till Saturday. We have kept going thanks to the generosity of Motiv8, the Molar Rollers Dublin, The Silver Tassie Hotel for including us in their appreciation night, Janice Mc Cready Killea who did the Birmingham Marathon & the two young lads from Buncrana Keith Mc Donagh & Stephen Bonner who did a Head Shave for us. DACC has as its primary aim to ensure those diagnosed with cancer in Donegal, have equal access to care services and treatments. DACC campaigns to ensure that Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH) retains and develops its cancer services for equal and improved access to radiotherapy treatment services for Donegal patients.We pride ourselves in working within an Ethos of Respect for everyone remembering at all times how we conduct ourselves may impact on the people we hope we are working for.For us in DACC we have achieved many things, we work away mostly quietly but daily for the good of Donegal cancer patients & services.From DACC’S original 5 aims back in April 2005 we have achieved:• the appointment of a full time Breast Surgeon;• the retention of Breast Cancer Services at LGH;• the 70 new beds at LGH with the construction of the new A&E;• urgent designated funding for cancer patients and their families through the “Travel to Care Project” administered through the Irish Cancer SocietyOverview of some of DACC works… Among some of DACC’s many successes is the Awareness Rally in May 06 where 15,000 people came out onto the streets of Letterkenny in a respectful and dignified manner. Donegal had never seen anything like it before.Again in June 06 over 1000 people gathered in front of Letterkenny General Hospital on a Friday night for a Candlelight Vigil till midnight.Another success is the book “You Are Not Alone” Sept. 2007. This book was updated, re-printed and renamed in 2010, “ Cancer- You Are Not Alone”In August 08 we saw the new full time Breast Surgeon take up his post at Letterkenny General Hospital after more than 3 years of work by DACC.DACC mounted a major postcard campaign in Sep/Oct 2008 to ensure that the Colposcopy Unit which was under threat would remain at LGH and that LGH will be officially named as a dedicated Colposcopy unit.DACC were proactive in May 2009 in ensuring that the Government granted derogation on the Moratorium on recruitment to allow for staff to be recruited, so that the roll-out of Breast Check in Donegal could commence in 2009. DACC worked hard in 2010 and secured a second BreastCheck Unit into Inishowen when we highlighted that screening was lagging behind by two years. When the unit was removed this year from Inishowen we were to the fore working hard to have it retained.In 2010 DACC were proactive in contacting the Irish Cancer Society seeking to have Daffodil Centre at Letterkenny General Hospital. This is now in place.DACC had concerns that patients were unable to avail of Lymphedema services at Letterkenny Hospital and sought to have this service also available in the community hospitals which did happen. DACC were instrumental in working with Prof. Tom Keane to ensure that a Colorectal Surgeon was recruited for Letterkenny Hospital.DACC hosted the first cancer conference that we know off in Donegal with Prof. John Crowne as our keynote speaker. We also hosted successful Men’s Health Evenings and also were invited to by secondary schools to come and talk to them regarding our work.DACC also worked with the Marie Keating Foundation, The Irish Cancer Society & Europa Donna Ireland as well as local cancer groups, women & men’s groups in supporting their work and relevant events in the county & elsewhere. We continue to help individuals & families when requested with appointment difficulties, medical card & other queries. We are on the North West Breast Cancer Ball Committee and help with organising the annual ball as we feel that the cancer research that is ongoing at Letterkenny Hospital and indeed some of it is a first in not just Ireland but the world. We are not joined or part of any other group in Donegal.At present over this year we have been working very hard to ensure that the Prostate/ Urology Clinics are re-introduced at Letterkenny Hospital. At present we are told that this will start again in a few weeks and are awaiting the okay to make the news release. Another piece of hard work that is ongoing by DACC is to have the Breast Cancer appointments for patients attending the Breast Unit at Letterkenny Hospital to be given back to the Breast Unit to make its own appointments for its own patents. We had secured a meeting at the Dept. of Health in February regarding this and other cancer concerns with a follow up in August and another meeting due at the beginning of December.For that meeting we made a map of Ireland with the 8 Centres of Excellence marked in, all across & below the Galway / Dublin line and highlighted that it is 308 km from Malin to Galway University Hospital. We keep sending that map around to all people in Ireland least they forget.This system changed this year and appointments are now being made by Galway University Hospital for patients who need an appointment at the Breast Unit. The new system is a crazy one and DACC firmly believe that it is not in the best interest of the patients or indeed the future of the Breast Unit. We don’t not accept what all those in highly paid position in the Government, Politicians, Ministers, Dept. of Health, The Cancer Control Programme, The HSE & the Saolta University Hospital Group tell us when they keep saying that the Breast Unit at Letterkenny Hospital is secure.DACC are also involved with key members at Altnagelvin Hospital regarding the Radiotherapy Unit for Donegal & other patients. DACC’s first choice for the Radiotherapy Unit was Letterkenny Hospital but is delighted that Altnagelvin will now be operational in mid-2016. After all it is about the cancer patients & that should never get forgot.Another key piece of work for DACC at present is being part of the Patient Forum for the next Cancer Strategy 2016 -2025. Meeting are held at the Dept. of Health in Dublin approx. every 3 weeks since May. For us in DACC it is very important to attend these meetings so that the needs of Donegal cancer patients can be kept to the fore and included in the next cancer strategy. Attending these very important meetings mean that we leave the house at 8.30am in the morning, get the bus to Dublin from Letterkenny for the 2 hour meeting at the Dept. of Health then head back to Donegal by bus and get home at 9.30pm at night. It is a very long day but as we said important to be there.DACC have kept the pressure on now for over 10 years, we have travelled up & down the country, kept cancer services and issues on the agenda. Most people aren’t even aware that we continue to work hard at what we do. DACC are continually seeking and attending meetings with politicians, members of the Government, HSE and anyone who can help them achieve improved cancer care and services for the people of Donegal.We have not gone away nor do we intend too.COMMUNITY HEALTH FOCUS: DONEGAL ACTION FOR CANCER CARE CONTINUES WORK was last modified: October 25th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DACC< Donegalletterkenny hospitallast_img read more