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Mammography Imaging Equipment at Sligo Regional Hospital

The West / North West Hospitals Group confirms that the mammography imaging equipment at Sligo Regional Hospital has been decommissioned. The equipment is over nine years old and does not meet current guidelines for breast care services: even if repaired it would suffer from inadequate detector size, inferior imaging performance and inability to fit up to date software.
It was decided that as this equipment was no longer viable that new equipment will be acquired once the staff resources are available to recommence this service. In the meantime the space in the unit will facilitate the provision of the ultrasound service to address growing demands, space limitations and waiting times.
Mr Bill Maher, Group Chief Executive of the West / North West Hospitals Group stated, “We are committed to delivering on the follow up service in Sligo and are continuing to make extensive efforts to provide an outreach service but this has not proved possible largely due to pressure on mammography staff resources at GUH where recruitment of mammographers has proven extremely difficult.
“The priority is to ensure that patients have their follow up mammographies in a timely manner and we would encourage all concerned - patients, their families and their doctors and nurses - to ensure that the necessary follow up mammography is carried out. Women availing of symptomatic breast services at Galway University Hospitals have access based on clinical need to an excellent nationally accredited service. The National Cancer Control Programme has set national standards against which all symptomatic breast cancer services are measured and the Galway/Letterkenny service has consistently delivered on these standards, ensuring that the best possible services are provided to women in our catchment area of the West / North West Hospitals Group.
“The scarcity of qualified mammography staff is a problem in Ireland and abroad and there are no funding or headcount issues in relation to the filling these critical posts.
“We have conducted repeated recruitment campaigns in Ireland, the United Kingdom and further afield and have also canvassed all the leading medical staff agencies but so far without success. Recruitment efforts are continuing.
“The Group is also committed to an annual cycle of training in order to ensure availability of skills. “