Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

DoH announces extension to stroke and breast assessment consultations

The Department of Health (DoH) has announced a four-week extension to the public consultation period on reshaping stroke and breast cancer services in Northern Ireland.

The consultations, which had been due to end on August 2nd, have now been extended until August 30th.

The department has proposed that the number of breast cancer assessment services be reduced from five to three.

Between three and five hyper-acute stroke units are proposed. Services are currently spread across 11 hospitals.

The proposals relating to breast cancer assessments would mean centres in Belfast’s City Hospital and Craigavon would close while the remaining three – at Altnagelvin, Antrim and the Ulster hospitals – would remain open.

There are two models out for consultation in relation to stroke services.

A model with three hyper-acute stroke units (HASUs) includes the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, Craigavon in the Southern Health Trust and Altnagelvin in the Western Trust.

Another option, which suggests five HASUs, would also include Antrim Area Hospital in the Northern Health Trust and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.  Specialists argue that expertise is currently being spread too thinly and that is denying some people access to the best care.