CANCER Connect – which is literally a lifeline for the people of West Cork – has experienced a drop in fundraising since the Covid pandemic and needs government support.
Independent TD Michael Collins made that point in the Dáil when he called on the government to honour its commitment to provide financial support for it.
‘The West Cork service – which collects people needing radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment and brings them to their appointments free of charge – was the first of its kind in the country,’ said Deputy Collins. ‘It was an example to other communities throughout the country.
‘The fact that it is a 100% voluntary service, and is operated by volunteer drivers, is hugely commendable,’ he said. ‘But since Covid, things have gotten tighter because there has been a drop-off in funding.’ The high price of fuel is also having a major impact, as is the significant surge in demand for treatments following the pandemic, he said.
The TD reminded the government that it gave an assurance, six months ago, that some financial support would be made available, and said the service will struggle with funding. ‘Not only does it buy the vehicles it needs, it also draws on the assistance of volunteer drivers who support people at their lowest ebb,’ he said.
‘There’s even a one-to-one car service for medically vulnerable patients who need to travel on their own to avoid infection.’
‘When I first raised this in the Dáil some months ago, promises were made that funding would be made available. But where is it?’ asked the TD.
Meanwhile, FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan said he ‘has again’ reiterated his calls for the HSE service plan to include significant funding for Cancer Connect as well as Cork Arc Cancer Support House.
‘I have been in regular contact with Minister Stephen Donnelly and the head of Cork/Kerry Community Health Care.’
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