Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne has called for the reinstatement of a fulltime sarcoma cancer specialist at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Deputy Browne made the comments after management at the hospital indicated that the contract for the specialist would not be renewed in the coming weeks.

Deputy Browne said, “Sarcoma is a relatively rare form of aggressive cancer, but patients can be treated successfully if the condition is identified early on. Between 200 and 250 patients present with this disease every year in Ireland. There is currently a top class sarcoma specialist working in St. Vincent’s Hospital but management have said her contract will not be renewed.

“The patients that rely on the services of this specialist have been left stunned by this decision. They can’t make sense of it as management at the hospital have admitted that a sarcoma specialist is needed. We now have a bizarre situation where the hospital is about to let go an experienced consultant despite the fact she has a strong relationship with patients who are dismayed at the prospect of her leaving.

“The approach of the management team to this situation just doesn’t add up. They want to remove the current consultant, but admit that they will have to hire a replacement over the next few months. Why not just renew the contract for the current consultant who is widely acknowledged as a world class expert when it comes to sarcoma research and treatment?

“I’m calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to intervene in this case. The current consultant is eager to continue working at the hospital and her patients want to see her remain in place. Her contract should be renewed instead of dismissing her only to have to find a replacement in a few months’ time. The failure to have a sarcoma specialist in place for up to three months will cost lives,” concluded Deputy Browne.