HIQA review finds breast service at LGH is performing well

The Health Information and Quality Authority has published a review of how breast cancer is detected and treated.

The review assesses the performance of the eight national cancer centres of excellence, as well as the satellite service provided at Letterkenny General Hospital, which is found to be performing well.

The HIQA report concludes that the satellite symptomatic breast disease service at Letterkenny General Hospital is meeting most of the core quality and safety requirements.

Under a number of target headings, Letterkenny General’s service reaches 100% compliance, including definitive diagnosis within two weeks of an urgent referral, and surgery within 20 days of diagnosis where necessary.

Where slight issues were found in timelines for non-urgent referrals, the hospital promised those issues would be fully resolved by the end of last month.

It is noteworthy that the reviews conclusions note that at the time of the review, it was unclear what impact, if any, the transfer of services from Sligo General Hospital would have on compliance figures in Galway, and whether or not such an impact would have a knock on effect on the satellite service in Letterkenny.

Interestingly, as breast check is rolled out in Donegal Town, and arrangements are being finalised for its
roll out in Letterkenny, the proportion of patients found not to have malignant tumours is by far the highest in the country, and over twice the national average. Nationally, there is one malignant diagnosis for every 17 benign diagnoses, in Letterkenny there is one malignant diagnosis for every 37 benign diagnoses.

This would suggest that once breast check is fully available, and women can be screened before attending the centre at the hospital, and the proportion of benign to malignant cases should fall.