Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 1126 - National cancer strategy implementation [35248/13].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 1126 - National cancer strategy implementation [35248/13]. (16 Jul 2013)

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1126. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form the 55 recommendations of the strategy for cancer control here; and the action taken regarding each recommendation [35248/13] 

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): The Strategy for Cancer Control 2006 contains 55 recommendations and is available on the Department of Health website. The Strategy addressed the rapidly rising burden of cancer in the Irish population and includes recommendations in relation to the reorganisation of cancer services, promoting health and preventing cancer.
Significant progress has been made in many areas of cancer control, particularly screening, cancer care in the acute setting and primary care since the launch of the Strategy. The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) introduced a programmatic approach to cancer services in 2007, as laid out in the Strategy. Its aim is to improve cancer prevention, detection, treatment, increase survival rates and improve quality of life. This is currently being achieved through the development of a comprehensive national service, based on evidence and best practice. Cancer services are now centralised around 8 Designated Cancer Centres established in four managed cancer networks. Multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are in place for the more common site specific cancer, with linkages between designated cancer centres and hospitals for MDT discussion. Work continues to ensure that, for all cancer, initial diagnosis and surgery will be provided at the cancer centres by multidisciplinary teams……..
In relation to promoting health, major advances have been made in progressing work on a number of initiatives including a new national framework for action to improve health and wellbeing 'Healthy Ireland', Tobacco Control, Substance Abuse and Obesity.
‘Healthy Ireland’ is a response to the many risks that threaten Ireland's future health and wellbeing. It was launched in April 2013 with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of our country over the coming generation. 'Healthy Ireland' will support a whole-of-government approach to address the determinants and predictors of health and wellbeing.
A range of measures have been introduced to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Ireland: Regulations to introduce combined text and photo warnings on tobacco products came into force in February 2013; work is progressing on the development of legislation on plain packaging, the objective is to make all tobacco packs look less attractive to consumers and to make health warnings more prominent. The Report of the Tobacco Policy Review Group is at an advanced stage of preparation. The Group is considering a number of issues including the feasibility and possibility of extending the smoking ban to other areas e.g., playgrounds, parks, beaches etc.
I supported a Private Members Bill in the Seanad in May 2012 relating to prohibiting smoking in cars with children present. My Department is working with the Senators in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Justice in progressing this legislation. In December 2012, the European Commission published a proposal for a new EU Tobacco Products Directive, the ultimate purpose of which is to reduce the numbers of people smoking. The proposal is being discussed in the European Parliament and Council of Ministers and the Commission hope to have it adopted in 2014. I am fully supportive of the measures outlined in the proposal.
Real and tangible proposals are currently being finalised on foot of the recommendations in the National Substance Misuse Strategy report 2012. These proposals cover all of the areas mentioned in the report, including legislation on minimum unit pricing; the advertising of alcohol; sponsorship; labelling of alcohol products; and prevention and intervention activities on alcohol.
A Special Action Group on Obesity has been established. I meet regularly with the Group to progress the obesity prevention agenda. The Special Action Group on Obesity comprises key stakeholders and is chaired by the Department of Health. It is recognised that alone no single initiative will reverse this growing trend, but a combination of measures should make a difference.
I am satisfied that significant progress has been made in implementing the recommendations in the 2006 Strategy. The quality of services has improved hugely in recent years, mainly due to the concerted efforts of the NCCP. My Department will continue to work with the HSE, clinicians and others, such as voluntary organisations, to ensure that outcomes for cancer are improved.

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